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In the United States, the 65 and older population will more than double by 2050, rising from 39 million in 2009 to 89 million (Edwards). However, longer life expectancies come with consequences. We are facing a crisis that will have an unprecedented impact on our economy, labor force, and health care system.
While the older population grows at a faster rate than any other age group, the size and quality of the work force is compromised. As the elderly leave the labor force and consume a larger share of goods and services, our economy will suffer along with the wellbeing of all Americans. Lower supplies of workers and output and a larger older population that is dependent on younger adults, will cause a heavy burden on the labor force.
The United States will also be affected by means other than just the labor market. Older adults spend more on public services and programs like health care and housing compared to younger adults. In addition, diseases that sometimes come hand in hand with old age, like osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, or diabetes, will lead to a shift from acute to chronic illnesses.
Not only will there be a desperate need for health care workers, but younger adults and children will also be affected as money flows away from programs like education, transportation, and other areas to Social Security and health services.
Population ageing can push our economy into inflation, debt, and depression. As workers leave the labor force, firms are forced to increase wages to compel people to enter the workforce, thus increasing inflation. The government will be forced to spend more of their revenue on services for the elderly while their income decreases, forcing the United States into even greater debt.
Three main factors und...

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... health care is compromised. With a larger number of older adults, greater health care needs must be met and this can take away from other services and programs. The economy is affected and could be forced into depression and debt. Our government is forced to spend more on services like pensions and health care while their income decreases because of decreased tax revenue. Businesses must increases wages to incentivize people to enter the workforce, causing inflation.
These problems can be reduced by the participation of older workers in the labor force, removing disincentives to work, providing access to education and training, removing incentives to retire, health care reforms, and changing business practices. Population ageing does raise daunting challenges but they are not insurmountable –the key is to practice changes along with the ever changing population.
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