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The elderly dependency rate in the U.S. keeps rising

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

The U.S. population is getting older — that’s a fact. How does the country’s aging population impact its economy? One of the most popular ways to represent the changes that come with an increase in life expectancy is the elderly dependency ratio.

As suggested by its name, the elderly dependency ratio is the ratio of the elderly population (65 years and older) to the working-age population (aged between 15 and 64).

The U.S. has long experienced a surprisingly low elderly dependency rate — it has hovered around 19 percent since the late 80s. Immigration was a major contributing factor. Another major contributor was baby boomers — this large demographic group didn’t start to leave the working age range until 2011.

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