Wednesday June 26, 2019
Home Lead Story Aging US Popu...

Aging US Population Creates Problem for Economy

Americans are getting older and family size is shrinking

0
//
Aging, US, Population, Problem
The U.S. birth rate dropped to a 32-year low last year. Pixabay

Americans are getting older and family size is shrinking, which means the nation will have fewer working-age adults going forward.

“I think it is a cause for concern if we are calibrating our expectations of having a strongly growing population,” says David Kelly, chief global strategist for JP Morgan Asset Management. “If you’re investing in things like the housing industry or the auto industry and you need an ever-growing population, then you have to adjust to a world in which the U.S. population is growing more slowly.”

By 2030, one in five U.S. residents — 20%— will be older than 65, compared with 13% in 2010 and just under 10% in 1970.

Various studies show that not only does an aging population cut into economic growth, but older workers who stay in the workforce tend to be less productive.

Aging, US, Population, Problem
FILE — Caregiver Warren Manchess, 74, left, shaves Paul Gregoline, 92, in Noblesville, Indiana. The share of the U.S. population over age 60 is expected to rise by 40 percent between 2010 and 2050. VOA

Meanwhile, as Americans age, the U.S. birth rate dropped to a 32-year low last year. Fewer than 3.8 million babies were born in 2018, down 2% from the previous year. Overall, the population grew 0.6% in 2018 compared to 1.2% growth in the mid-1990s.

That’s not necessarily a negative in the long run, says Kelly, adding that if you look beyond economics, a growing world population will potentially do more damage to the planet. Instead, he says, policy makers should plan for the expectation of a reduced workforce.

”There’s so many things in this world you can’t see coming. Demographics you see coming from a mile off,” he says. “It should be something that we try to adapt policy to as opposed to a lot of the things that we’re very unsure about, which we can more reasonably hesitate to act on. We really should adapt to a world of slow population growth because it’s clearly happening to us.”

He expects the lack of workers to spur the growth of robotics and artificial intelligence to replace the missing human labor. And he says Americans need to “get over our delusions” and prepare for U.S. economic growth to slow a bit.

Also Read- GRAIL Announces Significant Progress on Blood Tests to Detect Cancer

Another fix for a diminishing workforce is to add more legal immigrants rather than restrict them. Immigrants tend to arrive in the United States during their working years.

“I think what you need to do is, first of all, change immigration policy so you can do something about the lack of immigration growth or lack of population growth,” Kelly says. “But also you need a more open trade policy. If we don’t have big growth in our population, we won’t have big growth in our domestic markets. If we want to attract fast growing companies they’ll have to see the world as their market and not just the United States.”

Kelly believes the U.S. economy can easily adjust to the challenges of slow population growth, but he worries politics could get in the way.

”Of course we can adapt to this stuff,” he says. “The real question is a political question because it seems even as our population matures in years, it seems that our political system gets less mature in terms of thought process.” (VOA)

Next Story

More Cases of Measles Reported in US, the Worst Outbreak in Over 25 Years

Nearly 30 states have reported cases, with outbreaks of over three cases ongoing in California

0
Measles, US, Outbreak
A poster released by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is seen as experts answer questions regarding the measles response and the quarantine orders in Los Angeles, April 26, 2019. VOA

Thirty-three new cases of measles were reported last week, with 1,077 active cases total within the United States, according to health officials — the worst outbreak in over 25 years, when 2,126 cases were recorded in 1992.

Nearly 30 states have reported cases, with outbreaks of over three cases ongoing in California, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington state. New York’s Rockland County declared a state of emergency in late May, over a outbreak in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Measles was declared eradicated within the U.S. in 2000, four decades after elimination was first announced as a goal. A disease is considered eliminated when a full year passes with no active transmissions. If the current outbreak isn’t under control by October 2019, the U.S. will lose its measles elimination status.

“That loss would be a huge blow for the nation and erase the hard work done by all levels of public health,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said in a press release last month. “Before widespread use of the measles vaccine, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States, along with an estimated 400 to 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations.”

Measles, US, Outbreak
Thirty-three new cases of measles were reported last week. Pixabay

According to the agency, most cases are being spread by unvaccinated school-age children. Communities with low rates of vaccination create pockets through which the disease can easily be spread.

“I want to reassure parents that vaccines are safe, they do not cause autism,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., in the press release. “The greater danger is the disease the vaccination prevents.”

Also Read- ndia Struggles with Encephalitis Outbreak in Eastern State of Bihar, One of Its Poorest Regions

Travel from countries where measles is common, especially Ukraine, Israel and the Philippines, is also contributing to the U.S. outbreaks, according to the Associated Press. (VOA)