Skip to navigationSkip to content
Reuters/Stephen Lam
One to one.
GOLDEN RATIO

By 2050, US workers will have as many seniors to care for as children

By Corinne Purtill

It’s no secret that the US and other industrialized societies are aging. By 2050, thanks to a declining birth rate and an aging population, there will be as many US adults aged 65 or older as there are children under 18.

The percentage of seniors is growing much faster than the base of working-age people, a group defined by the US Census as adults aged 18 to 64. By 2050, the ratio of people aged 65 and up relative to the working-age population will for the first time equal the ratio of dependent-age children.

But remember, not everyone the census classifies as outside “working age” is dependent, or has actually stopped working. In 2016 nearly 20% of US adults aged 65 or older were employed at least part-time, a figure that’s expected to rise.