22 Facts About The Coming US Demographic Shock Wave

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Today, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will retire.  This is going to happen day after day, month after month, year after year until 2030.  It is the greatest demographic tsunami in the history of the United States, and we are woefully unprepared for it.  We have made financial promises to the Baby Boomers worth tens of trillions of dollars that we simply are not going to be able to keep.  Even if we didn't have all of the other massive economic problems that we are currently dealing with, this retirement crisis would be enough to destroy our economy all by itself.  During the first half of this century, the number of senior citizens in the United States is being projected to more than double.  As a nation, we are already drowning in debtSo where in the world are we going to get the money to take care of all of these elderly people?

The Baby Boomer generation is so massive that it has fundamentally changed America with each stage that it has gone through.  When the Baby Boomers were young, sales of diapers and toys absolutely skyrocketed.  When they became young adults, they pioneered social changes that permanently altered our society.  Much of the time, these changes were for the worse.

According to the New York Post, overall household spending peaks when we reach the age of 46.  And guess what year the peak of the Baby Boom generation reached that age?...

People tend, for instance, to buy houses at about the same age — age 31 or so. Around age 53 is when people tend to buy their luxury cars — after the kids have finished college, before old age sets in. Demographics can even tell us when your household spending on potato chips is likely to peak — when the head of it is about 42.


Ultimately the size of the US economy is simply the total of what we’re all spending. Overall household spending hits a high when we’re about 46. So the peak of the Baby Boom (1961) plus 46 suggests that a high point in the US economy should be about 2007, with a long, slow decline to follow for years to come.

And according to that same article, the Congressional Budget Office is also projecting that an aging population will lead to diminished economic growth in the years ahead...

Lost in the discussion of this week’s Congressional Budget Office report (which said 2.5 million fewer Americans would be working because of Obamacare) was its prediction that aging will be a major drag on growth: “Beyond 2017,” said the report, “CBO expects that economic growth will diminish to a pace that is well below the average seen over the past several decades [due in large part to] slower growth in the labor force because of the aging of the population.”

So we have a problem.  Our population is rapidly aging, and an immense amount of economic resources is going to be required to care for them all.

Unfortunately, this is happening at a time when our economy is steadily declining.

The following are some of the hard numbers about the demographic tsunami which is now beginning to overtake us...

1. Right now, there are somewhere around 40 million senior citizens in the United States.  By 2050 that number is projected to skyrocket to 89 million.

2. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

3. One poll discovered that 26 percent of all Americans in the 46 to 64-year-old age bracket have no personal savings whatsoever.

4. According to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, "60 percent of American workers said the total value of their savings and investments is less than $25,000".

5. 67 percent of all American workers believe that they "are a little or a lot behind schedule on saving for retirement".

6. A study conducted by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research found that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

7. Back in 1991, half of all American workers planned to retire before they reached the age of 65.  Today, that number has declined to 23 percent.

8. According to one recent survey, 70 percent of all American workers expect to continue working once they are "retired".

9. A poll conducted by CESI Debt Solutions found that 56 percent of American retirees still had outstanding debts when they retired.

10. A study by a law professor at the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States.  Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies.

11. Today, only 10 percent of private companies in the U.S. provide guaranteed lifelong pensions for their employees.

12. According to Northwestern University Professor John Rauh, the total amount of unfunded pension and healthcare obligations for retirees that state and local governments across the United States have accumulated is 4.4 trillion dollars.

13. Right now, the American people spend approximately 2.8 trillion dollars on health care, and it is being projected that due to our aging population health care spending will rise to an astounding 4.5 trillion dollars in 2019.

14. Incredibly, the United States spends more on health care than China, Japan, Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia combined.

15. If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

16. When Medicare was first established, we were told that it would cost about $12 billion a year by the time 1990 rolled around.  Instead, the federal government ended up spending $110 billion on the program in 1990, and the federal government spent approximately $600 billion on the program in 2013.

17. It is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

18. At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.

19. In 1945, there were 42 workers for every retiree receiving Social Security benefits.  Today, that number has fallen to 2.5 workers, and if you eliminate all government workers, that leaves only 1.6 private sector workers for every retiree receiving Social Security benefits.

20. Right now, there are approximately 63 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits.  By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.

21. Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.

22. The U.S. government is facing a total of 222 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities during the years ahead.  Social Security and Medicare make up the bulk of that.

So where are we going to get the money?

That is a very good question.

The generations following the Baby Boomers are going to have to try to figure out a way to navigate this crisis.  The bright future that they were supposed to have has been destroyed by our foolishness and our reckless accumulation of debt.

But do they actually deserve a "bright future"?  Perhaps they deserve to spend their years slaving away to support previous generations during their golden years.  Young people today tend to be extremely greedy, self-centered and lacking in compassion.  They start blogs with titles such as "Selfies With Homeless People".  Here is one example from that blog...

Selfies With Homeless People

Of course not all young people are like that.  Some are shining examples of what young Americans should be.

Unfortunately, those that are on the right path are a relatively small minority.

In the end, it is our choices that define us, and ultimately America may get exactly what it deserves.

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Ignatius's picture

"lola" and "sweetie"

When angry you project a homo-erotic-violence frustration fantasy.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Harbanger owns a collection of ball gags*, I have no doubt.  Where's the gimp?  He's sleeping.  Well, better wake 'im up.

*His only remaining asset after his personal failure for which he blames everyone but himself.

Harbanger's picture

Right now you are feeling empowered by the current state which is in collapse.  I know you, you have no courage or conviction, you're only looking out for your own sorry ass.  During the conflict and hardship which is inevitably coming, you will be drawn and quartered by your neighbors, this I know and predict for you.

Harbanger's picture

You're projecting again sweetie.  I have truth to tell.

LetThemEatRand's picture

By the way, congrats on getting authority from central command for being able to use the F word.  I can only imagine the paperwork.

WillyGroper's picture

Assuming he's a he instead of she.

Harbanger's picture

Listen Willy, all you need to know is that when you think you won, you lost.  Keep this in mind.

Harbanger's picture

I'm waiting for a sign-off from my corporate boss.  I work part time for the Koch brothers who run the gov and tell Obama what to say.  The bastards cut my hours to avoid obamacare, times are tuff, I need to feed my family.  I'll get back to you in 10-15 minutes.

LetThemEatRand's picture

You hit all of them with that.  Bonus for ChinaBot.   Faber would pay better, though.

Harbanger's picture

I like to please Lola.  Sweet dreams.

WillyGroper's picture

I'm sorry, I didn't realize this was a competition.

Please enlighten me on just exactly what it is that I lost as I never assumed I won anything, nor was my response to you. 

Need a little attention?

UselessEater's picture

Financial Culling. No wonder we have bubble after bubble ready to pop right about now - its starting to make sense. Let the masses grow the wealth then let the powers that be strip it before the uselesseaters who made it can use it. Sure some benefitted but that was the system they were growing up in and working with the time. Saw it in Zim, seeing it in Oz.... pricks like Kissenger couldn't leave us alone no matter where I went - on behalf of others, he did untold damage to the average soul in Zim and told the "greatest" treasurer Keating in Oz how to lip sync "the recession we had to have" while floating our dollar and selling our gold for pennies.... and more such BS fed to Fabians in Canada, Europe, etc and you're totally right we can't get the youngsters to switch off the mass media crap and switch on their minds - thank you Tavistock harlots, job freaking well done.

Gold Eyed Cat's picture

Yes, yes.  The human-shaped dung beatles running around calling themselves young adults today are nausiating. However, this article is hilarious.  Michael Snyder's very first fact (in his list of 22) is, "Right now, there are somewhere around 40 million senior citizens in the United States.  By 2050 that number is projected to skyrocket to 89 million."  

Micheal thinks in 2050 this will still be the United States of America, and healthy seniors will actually be allowed to live.  Isn't that just adorable!  So cute.


Omen IV's picture

The US has "no" debt problem - it ony has a foreign policy problem and a MIC problem which is one trillion a year with an accumulated debt of $16 trillion all due to the wars from Korea to Vietnam to today coupled with useless wasting MIC assets -- add it up - all a waste of men and money. as reported in ZH today:

U.S. foreign policy is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. It sanctions the destabilization and overthrow of governments, the assassination of leaders, the destruction of industry and infrastructure, the backing of military coups, death squads, and drug traffickers, and imperialism under the guise of humanitarianism. It supports corrupt and tyrannical governments and brutal sanctions and embargoes. It results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States........and costs money!

Change the game -  the Swiss make money AND take care of their people - but they dont murder people endlessly around the world for profit

try thinking thru the propaganda - the real cause and effect

new game's picture

correct. only ends with defeat, which means an all out last stand. where and when, but no why.

Real Estate Geek's picture

So you're saying that the US Navy ISN'T a "global force for good?"

Ace Ventura's picture

"...the Swiss make money AND take care of their people..."

The Swiiss are also exceedingly vigilant about their demographics. That is to say, the Swiss would do no better than us if they had allowed their country to multi-culted into national suicide. This is why leftists love to throw out the Swiss and nordic peoples as good examples of how 'collectivism/socialism' can work. What they fail to take into account is those nations' native demographics have not been crushed by multiculturalism........yet.

"....but they dont murder people endlessly around the world for profit."

Of course they don't. That's because Bankster HQ is located there and they own various MICs around the planet who do that sort of wet-work for them. So you're half-right.....the US problem is in large part associated with foreign policy and the MIC. But we can't pretend the $200+trillion in unfunded social program liabilities isn't part of the problem. Actually, those two factors are but enabled-symptoms of the REAL problem:

The God-forsaken hellspawn abomination that is the federal reserve system.


DaveyJones's picture

don't worry, they're not going to stop social security payments. They'll just start them at 93

LawsofPhysics's picture

Correct, long after you died.

Never One Roach's picture

I'm not worried as long as cheap labor keeps flooding into the country.  Soon, a "helper" or "caretaker" will cost less then $3/hour to cook, shop, run your bath for you and rub your back ... and that's for a 'legal' one.

See, there's a 'silver lining' to massive immigration.

Harbanger's picture

That's the short sighted progressive dream that will destroy them and their progeny.  People don't understand liberty and maybe they don't deserve it.  I can spin my energy on a dime and become the most statist good willed bastard the world has seen.

Harbanger's picture

Destroy your sovereignty, minds and culture so I may have my day in the sun, you godforsaken cattle.

LetThemEatRand's picture

That was an awesome take down on yourself.  Or was it just an awesome ratification of how right you are, by yourself?  Either way, awesome.

Harbanger's picture

I only witness what is.  Your ideology is destroying you, it's evident.  You win the booby prize!  God Bless.  Be safe.

WillyGroper's picture

Destroying sovereignity is the plan. How much longer do you think Europe can continue?

The HMFIC's are stateless, shielded & guarded to the max & not by some piddly gated community.

Harbanger's picture

Western Europe is owned as booty by the winners of WWII Willy. Get with the program.

WillyGroper's picture

Who do you thing owns the USSA?

Or did you miss that class?

Harbanger's picture

Whoever has the balls to claim it.  The tribe? the koch bros.? I don't know what answer you are looking for?

UselessEater's picture

I'm confused - you're most likely not one of the top 85 people... therefore no day in the sun forthcoming for you above us.... wrong time to choose superiority over up-chucking B.S. with a few others in the wings.... perhaps I mis-understood you but I don't like humans turned to sheeple - they can enjoy their illusion and insult me for pointing it out (as they do) .... my guess; you paraphrased Cecil Rhodes quite well; perhaps dramtic irony will let us tag the small in-bred-revolving-cattle-breeds that are hogging our lands and pastures....wish I had a clue how to make the dosh TPTB are sniffing up - I see  refined white powder with specks of gold under the noses of so many important banksters.... wonder if its their day in the sun... wonder what what follows for these useful idiots? Suicided-disease seems to be catching on like mad-cow disease.

Harbanger's picture

Nothing to gloat over, potential snitchers are being suicided.  Day in the sun will come when the illusion crumbles and we again believe what is true.

DaveyJones's picture

assuming the dollar doesn't lose all its value

Clowns on Acid's picture

Minimum wage is 10.10/hr as per Barry Mugabe. He can do whatever he wants to do because Google and Facbook CEO's conspired to have him re-elected President.

AGuy's picture

"don't worry, they're not going to stop social security payments.They'll just start them at 93"

Nope. too many votees depending on SS. They will do what they already started doing. Print print, print!


Two Feet Studs Up's picture

With all due respect, you're off your fucking rocker if you believe SS will be around in its current form 30+ years from now.

LawsofPhysics's picture

This is the direct result of the progressive "everyone's a winner" bullshit.  No, the reality is that differenent people are capable (if they work hard) of different things.  Some people simply don't have the ability, period, fucking accept it and move on.  Guess what folks, the earth has a very real carrying capacity, deal with it.  Moreover, some genes are simply bad and while it sucks, propagating the weak will only lead to devolution...





LetThemEatRand's picture

I get what you're saying, but the "progressives" who taught "everyone's a winner" were merely responding to the fact that everyone was during the easy money days of the '80's.  All you had to do was buy a house and watch it increase in value.  Buy some stocks, watch them soar.  Spend on credit because your portfolio is increasing faster than your interest, and it will always be so because that's your experience.   It was a trap.  Blame them for being game to feed the hunter (the Fed et al).

LawsofPhysics's picture

"Blame" is irrelevant.  Some will survive, some will not.

Same as it ever was...

LetThemEatRand's picture

So the winners keep the spoils from their debt ponzi theft racket?  Same as it ever was, indeed.

Grande Tetons's picture

Ahhh..sometimes the spoils are not what they are cracked up to be. Case in point...in the photo above article...which person would you proud to say is your child? 

Taking the bottle away from the drunk is easier than cleaning the mind of sociopath. 



DaveyJones's picture

I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy - T. Waits

Bananamerican's picture

Or as my aunt Mae used to say..."I'd rather have an act of history than a historectomy"

F.A. Hayek's picture

Sounds eerily familiar to today, doesn't it? Obama and his equal outcome army will only magnify the problem.

Cacete de Ouro's picture

222 : everywhere I go, people always remind me

Why did I deserve 222?

777 ranch sure....but 222?

Shizzmoney's picture


People tend, for instance, to buy houses at about the same age — age 31 or so

Will this happen for my gen (millenials)?

Fuck no!


Surging Chaos's picture

I hear you man. We millennials are not going to be running out to buy houses as long as the Fed continues ZIRP and buying up MBSes to keep housing prices artifically high.

Dr. Destructo's picture

That's the plan.

There is political power in property and wealth, and the banks along their .gov puppets will make sure that we don't reach that aspiration. Even though I own my own home in my late 20s there are plenty of factors which could end that rather quickly.

Kill the jobs, raise the taxes on us regular folk while issuing predatory loans, suck up the homes, rent them out, rinse and repeat. Then give the people a bit of subsidized bread and circuses to attend so that the declining state of our nation becomes normalized (though take away more bread and add more circus over time). The middle class is the greatest threat to a totalitarian state, and both dems and repubs are determined to destroy it.

We millennials barely got started, but these boomers gathered their nuts only to have them stolen -at least those who actually gathered and didn't fuck off. It's fucking brutal either way you slice it. I'm surprised there isn't more solidarity in the generations -one wanting to get their shit back, and the other fighting for a chance to get started.

Jena's picture

If there were any solidarity, we all could be dangerous to the machine.  This way the low-hanging fruit can be taken out one way or another