The United States is a demographic time bomb, plain and simple. Over the next 30 years, the U.S. economy will face an unrelenting demographic transition as ~75 million baby boomers exit the highest wage earning years of their life and start to draw down what little retirement savings they've managed to tuck away while wreaking havoc on the public "safety net" ponzi schemes, like Social Security, that will almost certainly be insolvent in a decade.
Per the U.S. Census Bureau, over the next 30 years, the number of people in the U.S. over the age of 65 is expected to double while those 85 and up will triple. Needless to say, the overall population growth of the United States is a fraction of that which means that millennials are about to get crushed by their parents....so it's probably a good thing they already live in mom and dad's basement.
But, since misery loves company, we figured we would take this opportunity to highlight Bloomberg's "Sunset Index" which tracks the number of working age people per retiree, by country and confirms that the United States is far from alone in their pending demographic crisis.
While France and Singapore are currently the worst off with only 2.2 workers per retiree, the map below highlights just how pervasive the aging population crisis is around the globe.
The world’s working-age population is shrinking faster than expected, leaving fewer people to support a growing number of seniors, according to the Bloomberg Sunset Index.
As seniors increasingly outnumber people still in the workforce, pressures rise on investment pools, medical systems and funds to build economies for future generations.
“The demographics cannot be ignored, but there are solutions,” said Suzanne Kunkel, director of the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “Those solutions need to be cultural, political, economic. There is no magic answer. The reality is China will deal with it differently than Italy.”
Asia could be facing the toughest choices in allocating resources. The Asia Pacific Risk Center estimates the region’s elderly population will rise 71 percent by 2030, compared with 55 percent in North America and 31 percent in Europe.
Of course, the financial burdens placed on young people around the world as a result of aging populations is highly dependent upon the extent of social services that have been promised and just how poorly funded those ponzi schemes are..which doesn't bode well for the United States.
“There are other-than-alarmist views about population aging,” said David Ekerdt, director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas. “Advanced economies face rather different challenges depending on the social provisions they have promised and the declines in fertility that have occurred in these nations.”
The U.S., for example, has “very high health-care costs for all citizens,” he said. “I would also say, politically, that it’s a large leap to assume that social spending, if reduced for one group, would be applied to another group.”
But, not to worry, we're sure that markets are adequately discounting these long-term demographic risks that are almost certain to lay waste to the global economy over the next two decades.