As a Baby Boomer, I have seen the attention directed to my generation. Born between 1946 and 1964, there were so many of us, that the media and industry focused on our life cycle. It all began with the surge in the birth rate after World War II. And now, as the oldest Boomers move past 65, we have begun to leave the work force, to collect Social Security, and to depend on Medicare.
As we age, again the U.S. and other countries will need to accommodate us.
In the U.S., during the 18 years between 2002 and 2018, the number of care jobs for the elderly was up by 75 percent from 537,000 to 941,000. Populated mainly by younger workers, the care industry reflects the challenge. Comparing the 45- 64 year old age cohort to the 80+, we have a seven to one ratio. By 2050, we can expect a three to one ratio.
However, the “poster child” for ageing is Japan. In a 2015 econlife, we quoted a Japanese retailer that said his escalators were moving at two thirds their normal speed. The reason was Japan’s ageing population. Now, you can see how their 65+ population has soared:
As a contrast, we can look to lower income younger countries like Nigeria:
Our Bottom Line: Policy Implications
We started by saying that countries will need to accommodate me and my Baby Boomer friends. In a global Pew survey, people said who should provide the care:
Next though, we need to ask what actually happens. Who did provide the care?
In four graphics, a 2019 UN report displayed how different countries support their ageing populations. First they showed the countries where government pensions and social welfare programs–the public transfers–were dominant. Then, by “asset dominant,” they meant dependence on private wealth accumulation from family and one’s own savings:
The second two UN graphics took us to the countries where public transfers and asset support are mixed:
My sources and more: Since I accidentaly wound up with a Vanity Fair subscription, I wanted to use it. This article on aging made me feel that the accident was fortuitous. From there, for the bigger picture, Our World in Data, as always, was ideal. Then, completing the overview, Pew Research had some relevant (but dated) data and the UN, here and here, had a 2019 and 2020 aging report.