U.S. population distribution by age, 1950-2050

This neat chart morphs right in front of your eyes; recommended viewing.

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Would it be wrong of me for thinking "Bring on the 'Death Panels'!" when it gets to 2040 or so?

To me the more interesting information in this post is that health care is between 15 and 20% of the "70%" that is frequently cited as "consumer spending."

Consumer spending as we normally think of it is between 50 and 55%.

It strikes me that the future worker/retiree bleak ratios would be much worse if the female work force participation rate had not moved up so sharply in the last half of the 20th century. I have never once seen that pointed out, but had the stay at home housewife culture of the baby boom years continued until today, we would be in much, much worse shape for social security.

I'm not sure that the thirties are peak earning years (not for me), but I agree with Jay. Bush was untimely, but it's all about demographics these days, and we hardly discuss the subject. I remember more talk of population aging twenty years ago, when it was far flung speculation. Now that it's upon us, the silence is deafening.

I'm an unrepentant supply sider, but we should also credit the baby boom, to a large extent, with the "Reagan recovery".

liberalarts, Increasing female workforce participation is also related to the declining birth rate, and this decline is the biggest problem for Social Security, followed by declining mortality.

"Baby boom" is misnomer. We had two baby busts, one related to depression and war and another, more permanent bust related to development, birth control and abortion. The "boom" was a period of historically normal birth rate in the middle, combined with a long term decrease in mortality at every age.

The problem would also be much worse without vastly increased immigration.

Why doesn't anyone point to the fifties as a terrible time because the number of workers supporting all those who weren't working was so massively high, and those non-workers where demanding massive spending by the government?

I was born in 1947 and still remember the crowded schools and the massive spending on building schools for my boomer generation who wasn't working while at the same time colleges and universities were expanding to handle the GIs on government funded scholarships who weren't working, while government was building new roads and sewer and water systems to provide the housing so women could stop working and stay home not working and make more babies and raise them.

One would think from those who claim that the retirement of boomers will drag down the economy because there will be so many not working depending on the incomes from those who are working when the same was true in the 50s and to a lesser degree in the 60s.

And that isn't taking into account the lack of jobs and economic growth because the high taxes were taking the money from the people who would produce economic growth and jobs by spending the money more wisely than government did.

I suppose one could argue that if big government hadn't sent all those GIs to college and trade school, hadn't built those roads and water systems so new homes could be built, that the baby boom wouldn't have happened because how can anyone think of having kids when you are forced to live with your parents in a two room apartment with your brothers and sisters, and you can't get more than an unskilled job.

I'm an unrepentant supply sider, but we should also credit the baby boom, to a large extent, with the "Reagan recovery".

The argument for the six tax hikes he signed starting in 1982 as a better driver of employment growth in the 80s.

During the 70s, it is clear that the boomers entering the workforce from high school or college were the reason for the record increase in employment during the first two years of the Carter administration which result in his employment increase exceeding Reagan's best, his second term.

Think about it, the last of the boomers were born circa 1960 so the last would have entered the work force by 1982, and after that rate of new workers aging in fell.

The increase in employment during the Reagan years, and the Clinton years, is the result of more women in the workforce, both as two earner families and more women as head of household.

I can’t really say anything knowledgeable about looming health care costs, but I will say this: Stay off the roads in 2050– something tells me we’ll be seeing a lot more full-sized sedans and a lot less turn signals.

The subsequent shift to the right in the demand curve is limited by the reduction in leisure time for households that shift from 1 income to 2 incomes.

Not sure. Labor is a supply that ultimately creates its own demand.

Women entered the paid labor force as they started raising fewer children (and used more labor saving, household appliances). It's not obvious that they had less leisure time working outside the home than they had working inside the home. Increased divorce rates had something to do with it too.

There was some wage stagnation in the eighties and nineties, more apparent in the wages of men, but I'm not sure it's all about competition with women entering the work force. I expect increasing corporatism to depress the median wage too.

The group to the right of 75-79 is "over 80". People in this group don't pass through. They arrive and stay until they die. If no one dies and no one is born, this group eventually contains everyone. That essentially what's happening. More people are living into their 80s and 90s, and fewer people are being born (per parent).

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