Those born during the post World War II baby boom in the United States, referred to as the baby boomers, have been driving change in the age structure of the U.S. population since their birth. This age group is projected to continue to influence characteristics of the nation in the years to come.
The baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011 and are now driving growth at the older ages of the population. By 2029, when all of the baby boomers will be 65 years and over, more than 20 percent of the total U.S. population will be over the age of 65.
Although the number of baby boomers will decline through mortality, this shift toward an increasingly older population is expected to endure. By 2056, the population 65 years and over is projected to become larger than the population under 18 years.
Aging of the baby boomers is also projected to shift the age structure of the total U.S. population. By 2030, when all of the baby boom cohort will be 65 or older, 1 in 5 Americans is projected to be 65 or older. A larger population in the oldest ages relative to the working age population will increase old age dependency and is likely to present challenges to the government, families, and businesses as they attempt to meet the needs of the growing older population. Stress in sure numbers will impact social service programs such as Social Security and Medicare.