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Health | Opinion
Mark Trahant: Just like everyone else, Americans getting older


"The people of planet Earth are growing older and living longer. Twenty years from now one billion people will be over the age of 65. More than that, the world’s population growth has been decelerating for the past 40 years. We’re having smaller families.

“ Population ageing is unprecedented, without parallel in human history—and the twenty-first century will witness even more rapid ageing than did the century just past,” says a United Nations report. “Population ageing is pervasive, a global phenomenon affecting every man, woman and child—but countries are at very different stages of the process, and the pace of change differs greatly. Countries that started the process later will have less time to adjust.”

That demographic fact adds to our health care burden, which adds to our deficit (plus those promises made to the growing ranks of senior-aged Americans), which alters the jobs picture beyond all recognition.

If nothing else I would like this to be the single election debate. How do we manage through this age imbalance? How can we make sure there’s enough work, given these age dimensions?

This demographic imbalance is one reason I’d like to see renewed emphasis (and real funding) directed at education and training for Native American youth. Indian Country’s population is younger than the general U.S. population – a median age of 28 instead of 35.3 – and so every young worker becomes critical to older citizens, those who might one day want to retire. We can’t afford to lose young people any more because of the lack of education or social problems. We need to help them be ready to work."

Get the Story:
We are like the rest of the world -- we’re getting older (Mark Trahant 10/18)

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