Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Age Demographics - Ouch!

Interesting data on Market Size Blog yesterday on work force projections made me wonder about underlying demographic trends. With that in mind I’ve made two graphics to show how the Bureau of the Census is projecting population out to 2020 by age groups (link). The Census goes much farther out, but 2020 is, as it were, well beyond my age horizon, so I stopped there.

This shows you actual population projections by narrow age groups. While most employment-related data are gauged to 16-and-older, for projection purposes the Census makes its break at 17. For my current purposes, therefore, I show, in bold colors, the working population as ages from 18 to 64 inclusive. The others I label as “young” to the left and “elderly and old” on the right. Notice here that significant growth is shown in the 65-and-over category.

If we look strictly at “share of population,” we discover that both the Working Age and the Young are losing share out to 2020. The only group that’s gaining share are the Elderly and Old. The biggest losses in share are experienced by those who must support the other two groups. That is shown graphically below:

Not surprisingly, therefore, the Bureau of Labor Statistic, which Market Size Blog is citing, shows an increase for the 2008-2018 period of 12.6 percent in the labor force but a 25.1 percent increase in the civilian population (link).

Ouch, you might say. My sad experience is, however, that demographics is fate. I had it easy in my working years: plenty of us, and to spare, to support the generation coming and leaving while the rest of us labored.

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