The Future of a Generation: How New Americans Will Help Support Retiring Baby Boomers

Overview

Over the next twenty years, some 77 million Boomers will be retiring from the workforce. Their numbers will place increased financial demands on Social Security and Medicare. Perhaps equally important, new generations, primarily immigrants, will need to fill the gaps in the U.S. labor force. To prepare for this aging reality and the impact on the economy, the Immigrant Policy Center created this report highlighting data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to provide insight on steps to take to stay abreast of the changing workforce.

Key Points

The report sheds light on the number of older adults retiring in the U.S., as well as globally, and correlating impact on the U.S. economy. The Immigrant Policy Center suggests a need for immigrants and their children to fill the gaps within the U.S. workforce to minimize the economic strains on Social Security and Medicare. Immigrants and their children account for two fifths of the population growth expected in the United States over the coming decades.

Some relevant statistics in this report include:

  1. In 2030, one billion of the world’s people will be ages 65+
  2. In 2010, Social Security paid benefits totaling $701.6 billion for 54 million people. Based on current demographic patterns, this financial benefit will become insolvent in 2026.
  3. In 2010, Medicare paid benefits totaling $516 billion to 47.5 million people, predominantly the elderly population. Based on current demographic patterns, this financial benefit will become insolvent in 2027.
  4. Having more older adults creates one industry sector destined to prosper: healthcare and related businesses. The BLS projects that between 2010 and 2020 employment will increase by 34.5 percent in healthcare support occupations and 25.9 percent in healthcare practitioner and technical occupations” (page 5).

How to Use

The report presents the data to make the case for changes in immigration policies. Considering the impact the retiring boomer population will have on the U.S. workforce and economy, the U.S. needs a strategic approach to increase legal immigration patterns. Those workers are needed for the overall economy and to support the booming older adult segment. Local policymakers can use this report to address local issues related to immigration.

View full report: The Future of a Generation: How New Americans Will Help Support Retiring Baby Boomers (PDF – 277 KB)

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