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As the Baby Boomers reach their golden years, the United States is facing one of its largest demographic shifts in history. Born between 1943-1964, the Baby Boomers represented a massive increase in births after couples were reunited once World War 2 was over. Because the 76 million Boomers make up such a large part of the general population of the U.S., their generation has defined the direction of American society over the years. This holds true even now as the Boomers hit retirement age; their increasingly advanced age is already having a significant impact in the U.S. Here’s why we need to start thinking about these impacts and prepare ourselves for the changes that come with an aging population.

Changing economy

There’s no doubt about it: an aging population will have serious impacts on our economy. As the average age of our society continues to trend upwards, we’ll have a higher percentage of retirees and fewer working-age people, a reality that poses some serious problems. In 2000, seniors made up just 12.4% of the population, but by 2030 they’ll be at 19%, meaning there will be a whole lot of seniors for the working class to support. The social programs we have in place for the well-being of our senior citizens, such as Social Security and Medicare, are going to need more funding in order to keep up with the aging population. We’ll need more money, but have fewer workers to provide it, a situation that our economy must prepare for. If we believe we should take care of our seniors, we have to find new ways to support them when they can’t support themselves.


Because senior citizens vote in much higher numbers than other voting blocs, they’ve traditionally been major players during election cycles. This was true even before the massive numbers of the Baby Boomers, and is set to become even more so now that they’re hitting retirement age. Expect to see politicians striving harder than ever before for the senior vote, supporting senior-related programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Though the recent presidential election showed a deep split between young people and the elderly (the majority of youth voting for Democrat Obama and the majority of seniors voting for Republican Romney), the stereotype of the increasingly conservative retiree has actually been proven false in recent research. Contrary to popular belief, seniors do not seem to become more conservative as they age, and often report feeling more tolerant and open to new ideas as they get older. Whatever their political leanings, baby boomers will have a major impact on upcoming elections in years to come.

Health Care

Improved health care in first-world nations has led to a longer life expectancy, which means the Baby Boomers will live longer than any generation before them. This is good news for Boomers as well as the health care industry—the elderly tend to need health services much more than their younger counterparts, which means big bucks for any service related to elderly care. Roughly 70% of people will require some form of long-term care after they turn 65, and as the senior population grows the number of people needing this care will skyrocket. Most families aren’t ready for the costs associated with long-term senior care, so it’s important to formulate a financial plan with that possibility in mind. In an economy that otherwise continues to struggle, the health care industry is scrambling for ways to accommodate its senior-driven exponential growth. Careers like pharmacy technician and nursing are booming, which is a blessing for anybody interested in the health care field.

This generation values fitness and an active lifestyle more than any that has come before it; they want to surf, hike, and ride their bikes for as long as possible. Industries catering to active but elderly individuals will also see growth in the coming years.

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