In less than 20 years, Americans 65 years or older will outnumber those under the age of 18 for the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau projects.
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“The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” Jonathan Vespa, a demographer at the Census Bureau, said in a press release.
The country could see greater demands on healthcare, in-home caregiving and assisted living. The population shift in favor of older Americans could affect funding for programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
There will be 78 million people 65 years or older by 2035, compared with 76.4 million under the age of 18, according to the Census Bureau. By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65.
In the 2030s, the U.S. population is expected to grow at a slower pace, to age considerably and to become more racially and ethnically diverse. Net immigration is projected in 2030 to be the primary driver of population growth.
Other findings of the Census Bureau:
--As the population ages, the ratio of older adults to working-age adults, known as the old-age dependency ratio, is projected to rise.
--The median age of the U.S. population is expected to grow from 38 today to 43 by 2060.
--The non-Hispanic white population is projected to shrink to 179 million in 2060 from 199 million in 2020.