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Overview Of The Senior Citizens Demographic In America

1686 words - 7 pages

In the United States, after World War II (particularly the period between 1946 and 1964), the birth rate rose due to the excitement of the end of the war and the return of overseas soldiers. This period is notoriously known as the “Baby Boom” and still affects our country today (Unit 3, Greene 36). “Baby boomers” are now reaching the age of retirement where they can begin reaping Social Security benefits and other government aid; this has become known as “The Graying of America”. In recent censuses, results have concluded that adults “65 and over make up 12.5% of the U.S. population” due to the “Baby Boom” and advances in medicine (Greene, Unit 3: Demographic Changes 31). Therefore, the retired and elderly make up a large portion of the American population, who need increased support and financial care from the government as well as from the rest of the general population, as well as retirement benefits. The elderly require increased health care due to disabilities and diseases. The elderly also need appropriate living arrangements, which may require stay at home care or admission into nursing homes, with more long-term care nurses and attendants. With the increased federal and state spending, on the proportion of those over the age of 65, brings increased financial pressure, economic decline, and further socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic inequalities among the proportion.
As the large, retired portion of America exits the workforce, many states’ GDPs will decline due to less productivity and workers. The retired no longer are producers of the economy but instead become consumers of Social Security retirement benefits, cited in “A Geriatric Peace? The Future of U.S. Power in a World of Aging Populations” by Mark L. Haas (Haas 118). In the journal article, “Population ageing in the United States of America: implications for public programmes”, by Joshua M Wiener and Jane Tilly, it states that “the proportion of the population that is over the age of 65 will increase from 12.7% in 2000 to 20.3% in 2050” (Wiener, Tilly 1). With the projected 7.6% increase, federal and state governments will need to accommodate the increase of elderly and their health needs. Haas states, “Aging populations are likely to result in the slowdown of states’ economic growth at the same time that governments face substantial pressure to pay for massive new expenditures for elderly care” (Haas 113). States with higher populations of elderly, such as “Sun-Belt” states and southern states, will face greater expenditures and more demands to meet needs. To meet these demands, states will have to increase taxation, reduce spending, and reduce benefits while also raising the retirement age (121 – 122). The money saved in areas of reduced spending will go towards benefits for the elderly. But the downside of tax increase will equal a decrease in economic activity and therefore a decrease in government revenue (122).
There are about 3.5 million or 8.7% of Americans over the age...

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