Baby Boomers increase their share of US population and wealth
According to the Population Profile of the United States published by the US Census Bureau, the population is aging rapidly. The median age has increased from 34 in 1994 to 35.5 in 2010. By 2035, it will be 39, where it will remain until about 2050. The increase is largely driven by those born by the Baby Boom after World War II, during the years of 1946 to 1964. The earliest of that group would be just reaching age 65 this year; the youngest would be about 48. The latter group will reach 65 in 2029, giving the Boomers about 16% of the total US population. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies, household wealth peaks around the time the present the baby boomer generation. Wealth is commonly measured as the sum of all assets, including home equity, minus liabilities.. Baby Boomers are hitting the heights of their earning potential, and cashing in their IRA’s, 401K’s, their career pensions, and drawing an increasing share of social security. In 2010, The Congressional Research Service (CRS) projected that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted by 2037 when the eligible recipients will claim 78% of the scheduled annual benefits. In addition, the trustee’s project Social Security expenditures will exceed income by 14%.
The first wave of boomers started retiring in 2008. However the birth rates in the US started to decline after 1965 and life expectancy is expected to increase. These factors are contributing to the United States becoming an older society with an increasing share of the wealth. The CRS state that “…between 2010 and 2030, the number of people 65 and older is projected to increase by 76%, whereas the number of workers whose taxes will finance future benefits is projected to increase by 8%. As a result, the number of workers supporting each Social Security recipient is projected to decline from 2 to 9 today, to 2 to 1 in 2035.”
It is expected that there will be many benefits, and issues facing the Boomers, (and our overall society), as they increase their share of the wealth and population. These changes will obviously affect every aspect of law, society and politics The Richmond Boomer column will explore the trends, news and issues related to the onslaught of the Baby Boomers in Virginia and the United States.