Immigration Newsletter

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Boomers may be headed for a Bummer

There are some people in every demographic group who take the position that we as a country should be drastically limiting immigration, but it sure seems to me like the over 50 crowd (Boomers and their elders in the Silent generation) are the driving force behind the nativist political discourse of these times.

It is ironic in a way because those are the very people who will feel the pinch of reduced immigration first. As the baby boomers start to reach retirement age in ever larger numbers -- they will face a shortage of physicians, nurses and other health care workers. Nursing homes and other areas of elder care already have higher than average percentages of foreign born workers. Even if the U.S. government can find a way to keep social security and medicare solvent (which is going to be difficult given the dwindling numbers of U.S. workers per retiree) -- without steady or even increased levels of immigration there will not be enough workers to care for the health needs of American retirees even if they are insured.

According to Census estimates the 65+ population will gain approximately 24 million people by 2025. The 18-64 population, however, will only gain 14 million people over the same span.

Today there are roughly 5 persons of employment age (18-64) for every person 65 or over -- by 2025 that ratio will be closer to 3 to 1. How do you suppose the economy and by extension the baby boomers' retirement investment accounts will perform over that period?

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