Immigration reform can protect our ‘golden years’ from the ‘silver tsunami’


I don’t know why the idea of ​​getting older is not often accepted, there are many benefits to aging. You will have the freedom to play unlimited hours of pickleball or any game of your choice in retirement, enjoy senior discounts at your favorite restaurant, learn a new language or musical instrument with more free time and just spending quality time with your family and friends. . You can practically live your best life in your later years. Additionally, some would argue that gray hair creates a distinguished look. Well, whatever your stance on aging, it happens to everyone over time. This is why there will be a notable increase in the number of Americans entering their golden years as baby boomers retire over the next decade. In fact, this trend has already started. The increase in the number of retirees has been cleverly characterized as “Silver tsunami”..

Today, Americans are collectively older than ever, with a median age of 38.9 years old in 2022. But this number is not increasing due to Americans living longer. Instead, our collective median age is increasing because Americans are having fewer babies. This trend began around 1965, with the end of the baby boom. Along with the decline in the number of births, the baby boom generation is gradually leaving the job market to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The dynamics of declining birth rates and an aging workforce are not unique to the United States, as other countries face an even more surprising demographic dilemma. For example, the median ages for Italy, Germany and Japan are respectively 47, 48 and 49. Older people in Japan represent approximately 30% of its population. In addition to the aging of the population, the number of child births in Japan has fallen below that of the population. replacement rate (2.1) in 2021 at an alarming rate of 1.3. It is important to note that, according to the United Nations research paper, “World population outlook 2022“Population growth in high-income countries between 2000 and 2020 was mainly driven by international migration. Immigrants (80.5 million) exceeded the rest of native births on deaths (66.2 million) more than 20% in these countries.

Immigrants have been a response to demographic dilemmas in the past. So shouldn’t America’s strategy to deal with the silver tsunami include immigration? Immigration can play a critical role in improving the worker-to-retiree ratio in the United States, while supporting retiring baby boomers. A lack of available workers usually leads to higher wages, which leads to higher wages. inflation. Fewer Americans will pay taxes to support our social safety net, while more will rely on Social Security and Medicare. Additionally, innovation and entrepreneurship may be affected by an aging workforce. An increase in a country’s median age of 3.5 years results in a 2.5% decrease in a country’s median age. entrepreneurship rate. A reduced workforce also reduces demand in consumption-driven sectors like housing. Overall, the economic impact of a declining workforce would be a less vibrant America.

Fortunately, the solution is right in front of us. The Pew Research Center concluded that immigrants and their children have supported America’s working-age population. since 2015. Today, nearly 78% of foreign-born people in the United States are of working age, compared to just 59% of the native-born population. Although both figures are expected to decline over the next decade, the gap is expected to remain relatively constant – narrowing to 72% and 56% respectively in 2030.

In addition to introducing younger employees to the workforce, immigrants also create jobs for others. They created a start-up almost double the rate of Americans born in the country in 2020. More 50 percent US startups worth $1 billion or more were founded by at least one immigrant US startups worth $1 billion or more were founded by at least one immigrant. These companies are collectively worth $248 billion and each company creates an average of 1,200 jobs, with the majority of these jobs in the United States. In addition, start-ups create a on average three million net new jobs nationally per year, or more than four times more jobs than mature companies.

Immigrants can also bolster the Social Security trust fund. Program administrators estimate that for every 100,000 additional immigrants, the Social Security actuarial balance increases by 0.08 percent of taxable payroll. Likewise, increased immigration can expand The actuarial balance of Medicare over the coming decades.

Improved access to immigrant workers can also have a profound impact on our national health care system. To take just one example, the availability of immigrant healthcare workers can change the options for accessible medical care. This also influences the quality of care for seniors. A Study 2021 found that Americans aged 65 or older are less likely to live in an institutional setting if the surrounding community has a higher proportion of working-age immigrants willing to provide health care services at home. For some areas of the United States, the choice of whether to age at home or receive institutional care depends on what the community workforce entails. Immigrants make up a disproportionate number of home care workers, accounting for 28% home health workers even though they represent only 17% of the general workforce. More than 75% of seniors want to reside at home rather than age in health care facilities. However, many American communities do not have enough healthcare professionals to achieve this.

As immigrants continue to fill vital health care positions, start and grow businesses, enhance our Social Security trust fund, and improve the worker-to-retiree ratio, we need policymakers Policies recognize how immigration can serve as a dynamic strategy to address the silver tsunami. . Creating simplified and faster pathways to U.S. citizenship for immigrant direct care workers can help reduce the labor shortage. Increasing the number of available immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas (i.e., the H-1B visa) would also help communities replace retirees in the workforce. Such an increase in the number of workers will reciprocally support the tax bases and the Social Security trust fund. Additionally, adopting a startup visa option could attract immigrant entrepreneurs to the United States with the goal of opening businesses and creating jobs. Right away, these aspiring entrepreneurs have no way to achieve this goal without satisfying a myriad of strict criteria. Due to the academic backgrounds of many international students, attracting and retaining immigrant entrepreneurs can also complement efforts to increase America’s collective STEM talents.

All of these proposed reforms can help our country adapt and excel during a future silver tsunami. With the correlated factors of a large wave of retiring seniors and an increase in the median age in the United States, immigration reform is a proactive way to stabilize the workforce and fill important and needed positions in health care and other areas. Immigrants have alleviated labor shortages in the past and the United States has benefited. In light of this, immigrants should be a critical part of America’s strategy to respond to the silver tsunami and ensure that our golden years are ones of shared prosperity, and perhaps even a little pickleball.

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