Figure 2-1 Population aged dependency ratio, historical and projected through 2080

Figure 2-1 Population aged dependency ratio, historical and projected through 2080

NOTE: Ratio calculated by dividing population ages 65 and older by population ages 20–64.

SOURCE: Workshop presentation by Goss.

fications of population projections, commenting that U.S. national identity is to some extent affected by projections that the majority of the national population will be nonwhite by 2050.

In addition to summarizing the projections program of the Social Security Administration, this section also consolidates material from two presentations by Census Bureau staff. The issues and challenges faced by the Census Bureau in producing current population estimates (between decennial censuses) are similar to those confronted in making future population projections. Hence, the two workshop presentations by Census Bureau staff on projections and estimates are most naturally summarized together here, even though they fell into different sessions at the workshop.

Population and Fiscal Projections at the Social Security Administration

The population projections made by the Office of the Chief Actuary (OCA) of the Social Security Administration are the driving force in determining the future revenues and costs of Social Security, Medicare, and other programs. Steve Goss (chief actuary, Social Security Administration) began his remarks by describing his office’s use of the population aged dependency ratio as an explanatory measure; see Figure 2-1. The total dependency ratio, which would also reflect persons under age 20, is useful as well but—particularly for considering ramifications for the major entitlement programs—the aged dependency ratio is most useful for assessing the relative cost of programs.

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