For the first time in the history of the world, there are more people on the planet over the age of 65 than under five.
For industrial nations such as the U.S., this is a profound change from what has been the norm for the past 75 years, when the arrival of the Baby Boomer generation marked the beginning of just the opposite trend.
But with the Baby Boomers leaving the workforce in unprecedented numbers, we’re seeing some of the effects of this new change in demographics. There simply are not enough Americans to fill jobs of all kinds — reportedly there is just one worker for every two job openings — and no matter how much the Fed raises interest rates, that is not going to change.
Moreover, as the majority of Baby Boomers begin to hit their 70s, the demand for service employees, ranging from healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, home health aides) to the travel industry (flight crews, airline ground staff) is going to increase exponentially.
Whether going to a hospital emergency room or an airport these days, it’s already a nightmare, with the consequences ranging from life-and-death to inconvenience.
Japan has been the canary in the coal mine of this demographic shift. Its economy has been stagnant for a decade and even shrinking in comparison to other nations because of the decline in its birth rate and its aging population.
The industrialized world is facing the reality of simple arithmetic: There are fewer young people to take care of a lot more old people.
In 1970, the median age of the U.S. population was 28.1. Today it is 38.6. In other words, our population today is almost a full generation older (if you count a generation as being 15-20 years) than it has been in the past.
With the U.S. government stuck in gridlock, it is obvious that we as a nation are not going to be able to do anything to address this impending seismic shift in demographics over the long term.
America’s greatness always has stemmed from those who have immigrated from other countries. Immigrants come to America to make a better life for themselves and their families. They work hard and possess an entrepreneurial spirit. In addition, they bring a diversity that has created the wonder that is the American melting pot.
More than ever, America needs immigrants to fill the jobs and pay the taxes that will support our aging population.
We realize that a lot of people may not want to hear that — but that is the reality.