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Long-Run Macro-Economic Effects of the Aging U.S. Population

Committee biographies, meeting agendas, and the most updated project information for this study can be found on The National Academies Current Projects System.

Statement of Task

This study is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Treasury and will set out a framework for evaluating the long-run macro-economic implications of population aging. In particular it will:

  1. Examine the main sources of existing long-run U.S. demographic projections with particular focus on increasing life-expectancy, rising numbers of oldest old, trends in fertility and net immigration, and changing dependency ratios.
  2. Identify the degree of uncertainty associated with existing demographic forecasts and how they complicate predictions of economic behavior and macroeconomic performance.
  3. Quantify in detail the influence of the “baby boom” generation on the path and likely end point of long-run trends in dependency ratios.
  4. Investigate trends in retirement ages and the prospects for people working longer.
  5. Evaluate the implications of projected demographic changes on American living standards, focusing on factors affecting income security in old age such as aggregate demand, savings, and investment, how they interact, and the aggregate burden on society across all public and private channels through which transfers flow.
  6. Investigate the capabilities for government to maintain current levels of publicly funded support for the elderly.
  7. Investigate trends in private pension provisions and how those trends might be related to the transition to an older society.
  8. Investigate what levels of personal savings would be necessary in order for people to sustain their living standards in retirement for various assumptions about retirement ages, health care cost growth, public support for the elderly, and the effects of increased national savings on investment returns. Summarize the evidence regarding savings adequacy for different age cohorts. Investigate the impediments to people saving adequate amounts.

NRC Staff

Scott Weidman, Director, Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications
Barney Cohen, Director, Committee on Population
Kevin Kinsella, Senior Program Officer
Danielle Johnson, Senior Program Assistant

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