Study: Immigration Will Not Help Medicare Finances
An increasingly aging U.S. population is expected to put additional strain on the costs of government-sponsored programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, even as the rising number of immigrants contributes to the total number of working-age people, according to a study released on Monday by the Pew Hispanic Center, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports.
The study -- by Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer, and D'Vera Cohn, a senior writer at the research center -- found that rapid growth in the number of adults ages 65 and older will result in increased costs per worker for programs that are geared to help seniors and children.
While the working-adult population currently helps to cover the costs of the programs, the number of adults ages 65 and older is expected to increase to 81 million by 2050 -- more than twice the current size, according to Pew projections (Gamboa, AP/Houston Chronicle, 2/11). Pew estimated that by 2030, there will be 29 to 36 seniors per 100 working-age adults; the current ratio is about 20 seniors per 100 working-age adults (Olivo, Chicago Tribune, 2/12).
In addition, there will be 72 seniors and children per 100 working-age adults by 2050, compared with 59 in 2005, according to Pew. If immigration were halved, there would be 75 seniors and children per 100 working-age adults, and if immigration doubled, there would be 69 seniors and children per 100 working-age adults (AP/Houston Chronicle, 2/11).
Passel said the center's projections call into question previously held assumptions that the population of U.S. residents would become younger as more immigrants entered the country. He added, "The Social Security and Medicare issues are not really altered by immigration" (Chicago Tribune, 2/12).