According to a recent report by Pew Research, US citizens are less worried than other countries about the aging of the population. Despite the fact that the number of adults aged 65+ is expected to rise from 13% to 21% of the total population by 2050, Pew Research reports that only one in four believes that aging is a “major problem.”
American public opinion on aging differs dramatically from the views of the nation’s major economic and political partners. Americans are less likely than most of the global public to view the growing number of older people as a major problem. They are more confident than Europeans that they will have an adequate standard of living in their old age. And the U.S. is one of very few countries where a large plurality of the public believes individuals are primarily responsible for their own well-being in old age.
This is not because the U.S. is perennially young. American baby boomers are aging, and one-in-five U.S. residents are expected to be 65 and older by mid-century, greater than the share of seniors in the population of Florida today. It is also projected that the share of people 65 and older in the U.S. will eclipse the share of children younger than 15 by 2050.
But the U.S. is aging less rapidly than most of the other countries. In 2010, the global median age (29) was eight years lower than the U.S. median age (37). By 2050, the difference in age is projected to narrow to only five years. Also, driven by immigration, the U.S. population is expected to increase by 89 million by mid-century even as the populations of Japan, China, South Korea, Germany, Russia, Italy and Spain are either at a standstill or decreasing. For these reasons, perhaps, the American public is more sanguine than most about aging.
The report also notes that, because of the slower rate at which the US population is aging, it “may be in a position to experience a more robust economic future in comparison with other developed nations.”
As a companion to the report, Pew Research released an interactive graph that shows the population changes over time, both globally and in the US. Spanning 100 years between 1950 and 2050, it shows clearly the trend of aging populations and may encourage, if not worry, at least concern and attention. One thing that becomes apparent after viewing the graph is the growing need for quality long-term care options such as Assisted Living. If you’re in the market for long-term care, make sure you understand the difference between Assisted Living and other options. When you’re ready to begin touring potential homes, take along CALA’s consumer checklist. With these tools, you’ll be on your way to finding the residential setting that fits you.