The Graying of America

As the above chart shows, America is graying. Fast.

My generation (the Baby Boomers) (I’m one of the purple ones the graph) is the contributing factor. There are a lot of us. And now we’re rounding the final corner of life, which will have major implications for society.

  • The labor force is being restructured as Boomers retire in droves;
  • Demand for certain goods and services will decline precipitously (Amazon isn’t the only one impacting retail!);
  • Demand for certain other services (e.g., healthcare) will rise as a greater number of Boomers approach their mid-70s, when the deterioration in human bodies really begins to accelerate;
  • Demand on our safety nets, such as Social Security and Medicare, will drive government borrowing through the roof, dramatically increasing expenditures (including high interest charges), perhaps resulting in stiff tax increases, and possibly resulting in an erosion of the value of the U.S. dollar with all the unfortunate consequences thereof; and
  • In time, there will be a massive transfer of wealth from the Boomer generation to their children’s generation (but that will take time as most Boomers still have a quite a few years to live).

We saw this coming, of course. Big demographic shifts like this don’t sneak up on anyone. Some people prepared for it; many others did not. As a group (government), we haven’t prepared, which should make things interesting as related government expenditures balloon over the next decade.

This demographic transformation of America will be interesting to watch. It will have political ramifications. Economic ones, too. Social scientists should have a field day with this.