Retirees Set to Outnumber Children

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s projection, the population will grow by an annual average of 2.3 million people until 2030, with Baby Boomers tilting the charts.
U.S. population growth over a century.
U.S. population growth over a century

By the year 2030, all Baby Boomers will be older than 65, making one in every five residents retirement age. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections, this will mark a turning point: Older people will outnumber their children for the first time in history. 

“By 2035, there will be 78 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18,” noted Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Population Growth vs. Aging 

Although it is forecasted that births will be four times larger than the level of net international migration in the coming decades, population is expected to grow at a slower pace. The population will have a natural decline, leaving net international migration to overtake natural increase as the leading cause of population growth. Between 2020 and 2050, the number of deaths is set to rise due to the aging population and the Baby Boomers—who are a significant percent of the population—age into older adulthood. 

Projected number of children and older adults
Projected number of children and older adults

By 2060, the U.S. is projected to grow by 78 million people from the 326 million today to 404 million. The population is expected to grow an average of 2.3 million people per year until 2030, but that is shown to decline to an average of 1.8 million between 2030 and 2040, and then fall to 1.5 million per year between 2040 and 2060. 

With an aging population comes a rise in the ratio of older adults to working-age adults, according to the report. In the next two years, projections show there will be three-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. By 2060, this will fall to two-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. From this, the median age of the U.S. population is expected to increase from today’s 38 to 43, by 2060. 

Charts courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau