Demography and Retirement: The Twenty-First Century

By Anna M. Rappaport; Sylvester J. Schieber | Go to book overview

2
Demographic Change in the United States, 1970-2050

Samuel H. Preston

This paper focuses on the future size and age composition of the population of the United States. The impending changes are viewed through the prism of population projections made by two federal agencies: the Bureau of the Census and the Social Security Administration. The successes and failures of the projection programs of these agencies is briefly evaluated, and we consider at greater length the plausibility of their most recent intermediate projection series. Our conclusion is that mortality is very likely to improve at a faster pace than they have projected. Exaggerating the impact of this factor on population size, but partially offsetting its impact on age structure, we anticipate that future fertility rates will be higher and immigration flows faster than projected by these agencies. These conclusions are based upon analyses of recent demographic change in light of broader social and economic trends.


BACKGROUND

Population projection is a mechanical exercise that demonstrates the implications of particular sets of fertility, mortality, and migration rates, combined with an initial population age structure, for future population size and composition. Age-specific mortality rates are applied in order to survive the population forward in time; age-specific fertility rates are then applied in order to project births. Immigrants and emigrants are typically added at the last stage. The procedures are logical and algebraically coherent. They have the virtue of making endogenous one of the most important determinants of demographic change, a population's age structure. Populations with larger proportions over age 50, for example, will have higher death rates and lower birth rates and growth rates, ceteris paribus.

The initial population size and age distribution are usually known with a high

-19-

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Demography and Retirement: The Twenty-First Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • MEMBERS OF THE PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL v
  • Purpose of the Council vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1: Overview 1
  • Introduction 1
  • 2: Demographic Change in the United States, 1970-2050 19
  • ENDNOTES 47
  • Stephen C. Goss 53
  • Barry Edmonston 57
  • Introduction 57
  • 3: Expected Changes in the Workforce and Implications for Labor Markets 73
  • Introduction 73
  • Joseph F. Quinn 105
  • 4: Can Our Social Insurance Systems Survive the Demographic Shifts of the Twenty-First Century? 111
  • Introduction 112
  • ENDNOTES 148
  • 5: The Impact of the Demographic Transition on Capital Formation 163
  • Introduction 163
  • ENDNOTES 180
  • Alicia H. Munnell 183
  • 6: Implications of Demographic Change for Design of Retirement Programs 189
  • 7: Trends in Health Among the American Population 225
  • Introduction 225
  • ENDNOTES 242
  • Discussions 243
  • 8: Population Aging and Retirement Policy: An International Perspective 255
  • Introduction 255
  • ENDNOTES 284
  • Robert J. Myers 293
  • Bibliography 297
  • Index 315
  • Contributors 323
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