It is a presidential election year and that means that Social Security is once again a hot topic. If something doesn’t change with the nation’s Social Security system then there is concern that the coffers could run dry. While this may sound like a lot of election year hype, there is some merit to this argument. Researchers have determined that by the year 2100, there will be only 1.8 working adults per individual age 65 and older. This is down, significantly, from the 4.6 working adults to retired individual ratio in 2010.

 

Researchers worked with three key age groups to complete this model. Working adults are individuals under the age of 65. Retired individuals are aged 65 to 85 and adults over the age of 85 are classified as elderly.

 

It is this last group of individuals, the elderly, that are a major contributing factor to the decrease in working to retired adult ratio. The population of individuals older than age 85 is going to increase more than was previously estimated through the year 2100. As people live longer, and as fertility rates in some countries decrease, this ratio is only going to continue to get smaller.

 

While the predicted ratio decrease in the United States looks alarming, the figures are more concerning for the two most populated countries — China and India. By 2100, the number of working-age adults for each person 65 or older in China is expected to be 1.6. This is down from a ratio of 7.9 in 2010.

 

The decrease in India is even more alarming. In 2010 the ratio was 11.1 working adults per adult age 65 and older. By 2100 this figure is expected to drop to only 2.0.

 

Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington professor of statistics and sociology and lead author of the report, explained that the numbers are better here in the United States due to an expected increase in new births as well as population growth attributed to immigration. While a ratio of 1.8 may be better than the expected ratio in other developed countries, it definitely is not good news.

 

Social Security is a hot topic here in the United States, but the issue of financially supporting elderly adults is truly a worldwide concern.

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