S&P’s Chief Economist Confirms the Importance of Age Demographics


As I have previously noted, Japan’s population is rapidly aging, and the U.S. age pyramid – while not as bad – is not nearly as young as that of Brazil or India’s:

Which countries have the best demographics?

Let’s start by looking at the “age pyramid” for the United States. The following 2 charts from the National Institutes of Health shows that the population is aging:

This graphic (courtesy of Ed Stephan) shows the U.S. age pyramid from from 1950 through 2050:

male female
Population of the United States, by Age and Sex,
1950-2050 (millions)
information source: International Data Base, U.S. Census Bureau;
supplied pyramids were modified using Canvas, GraphicConverter and GIFBuilder.

As NIH notes:

The first of the postwar baby boom cohort, born 1946–1964, will turn 55 years in 2001. In just three decades, an extraordinary change in the age structure of the United States is anticipated. By 2030, one in five persons (20% of the U.S. population) will be aged 65 or older, increasing from the present ratio of one in nine persons (12.8%). The number of persons in the 65 and older age group will more than double, increasing from the current 34 million persons to 70 million persons. Moreover, within the older segment of the population, because of longer life expectancy and additional persons reaching older ages, there will be age shifts resulting in the 85 and older population more than doubling in size from 4.3 million persons to approximately 8.9 million persons.


An aging U.S. population means less productive workers, less big-spending consumers, and more dependent elders…

Brazil has a much younger age demographic.

And India’s is even younger than Brazil’s.

The following chart shows that Japan has the worst demographics of all, with a staggering percentage of elderly who need to be taken care of by the young:

Chart 2: Old Age Dependency Ratios for Selected Countries

clip_image002[5]Source: http://data.un.org/


The chief economist for Standard and Poor’s is now confirming the importance of national demographics:

But I don’t think [a lost decade in the U.S. is] as likely over here. For one thing, one of the problems in Japan was the demographics. And we don’t have the problem of a declining population to deal with, although the labor force is going to slow down considerably as soon as the baby boomers retire.

In other words, America’s age demographics aren’t as bad as Japan’s, but they aren’t helping, either.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05636200338746518234 fboness

    So, the answer is to kill off all our old people so we can be India.