News / USA

Future US Senior Citizens Face Big Changes

1 in 5 Americans will be over 65 by 2050

This young worker had better be checking his retirement account on that computer if he wants to be comfortable at age 65
This young worker had better be checking his retirement account on that computer if he wants to be comfortable at age 65


Ted Landphair

Analysts at the U.S. Census Bureau have a provocative forecast for America’s population in 2050, when today’s 25-olds will be knocking on the door of age 65.

If projections hold, not only will there be more than TWICE as many people 65-and-over in sheer numbers as there are now, but their percentage of the population will jump from 12 percent today to 21 percent.  That means more than one in five Americans at mid-century will be what we call "senior citizens."  And if current demographic trends continue, a much greater proportion of the nation’s elderly will be Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American.

Take a look at the typical American worker, circa 2050.
Take a look at the typical American worker, circa 2050.

Linda Jacobsen at the Population Reference Bureau, a private outfit that helps make sense of demographic data, helped us sort out the implications:

Primarily, she says, in 2050 a whole lot more people 65 and older will be on the job outside the home.  In part, that’s because many more than today will be well educated and in rosy health, and will simply WANT to keep working.  

Others won’t have a choice, since they won’t be able to get Social Security benefits as the eligibility age keeps rising - quite possibly to 70 or beyond by 2050.  And as private companies cut costs, generous pension and company-paid retirement accounts will be harder to find as well.  

Today, women more often than men are the ones who stay home to care for Mom and Dad in their last years - while men contribute money to their elders’ care.  But in 2050, women will be less available as caregivers, because more of them will also be busy at a workplace somewhere.  

So, Linda Jacobsen points out, young Americans had better be saving money right now in the increasing likelihood they’ll have to care for themselves in their advanced years.  But, they can expect plenty more nursing homes and assisted-living centers to choose from.  

In 2050, Americans who are 65 may be considered "middle-aged."  By then, only what demographers today call the "oldest old" - the 85-and-over crowd - will be thought of as truly "old."

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs