The U.S. Is Aging Faster Than Anticipated

Recent population projections from the 2010 census will have major implications for how we work, retire and care for the elderly

by Adele Hayutin • Next Avenue
aging faster image
Photograph: Shutterstock

According to recently released Census Bureau projections, the U.S. population is aging faster than previously expected — and the implications are enormous.

Although the latest census forecast still says the number of Americans 65 and older will double over the next 30 years to 80 million, the government now believes the under-65 crowd will grow more slowly than estimated four years ago.

A Higher Share of Older Americans

As a result, there will be a slightly higher proportion of older people in the United States than anticipated. This accelerated pace of aging makes it even more urgent that individuals and government officials prepare for the coming population shift.

Some of the most important personal decisions that will be affected include choices about work, living arrangements, caregiving for older relatives and financial matters concerning retirement. Policymakers will need to consider how the faster pace of aging further threatens the financial viability of Social Security and Medicare.

The nation will be affected in significant ways due to an increasing number of retired Americans and relatively fewer young people paying taxes and earning money to support themselves and their families.

Yet most individuals and communities are ill prepared for the practical aspects of living in a society where more than 1 in 5 people are over 65.

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