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Just the Stats:Older population to Grow Faster Than Total of Working-age Adults

Washington D.C

Rapid growth in the nation’s older population is likely to put huge pressure on the cost of government safety-net programs, even though the rise of immigrants is helping to increase the total of working-age people, a report from the Pew Hispanic Center said.

Most of the overall population growth, 82 percent, will be the result of immigrants arriving between 2005 and 2050, as well as their children and grandchildren.

Other findings include:

  • The number of working-age adults, ages 18 to 64, will rise from 186 million three years ago to 255 million in 2050.
  • Foreignborn adults will account for 23 percent of the population in 2050, while non-Hispanic Whites drop from 68 percent to 45 percent of the group.
  • The nation’s population of seniors, those 65 and over, will more than double in size to 81 million by 2050. The last of the baby-boom generation will reach 65 in 2029. That combination will add up to 32 seniors for every 100 working-age adults, up from 20 in 2005. For every 100 working-age adults in 2050, 72 people will be either seniors or young children, , up from 59 in 2005.
  • Pew researchers project that by 2050, the nation’s population will total about 438 million, as long as today’s immigration, fertility and other population trends continue.

“Future immigration lessens the load on each worker, but it’s not a big effect. The dependency is going to increase regardless of what we do with immigration,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew Hispanic. “The reason this is going to happen is not what’s going on in the future. It’s what went on in the past. It’s because our parents had so many kids.”

The center’s future population growth numbers are higher than those of the United States Census, which calculated a population of 420 million in 2050. The researchers said that is because the Census projects lower immigration numbers.

— Associated Press


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