Dependency Ratio : Planet Money The nation's population of both elderly people and children is projected to rise more rapidly than the population of working-age adults.
NPR logo More Retirees, More Kids And Fewer Workers To Support Them

More Retirees, More Kids And Fewer Workers To Support Them

Unless the U.S. addresses long-term deficits, "we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth," Ben Bernanke said in some routine Congressional testimony this morning.

He cited one familiar driver of long-term fiscal trouble: The graying of the population, which will lead to a higher ratio of retirees (who draw federal Social Security and Medicare benefits) to working-age adults (who pay lots of taxes).

It's not just retirees. In the coming decades, the nation's population of both elderly people and children is projected to rise more rapidly than the population of working-age adults, according to a recent report from the Census Bureau.

So there will be fewer earners to support each child and retiree. Here's a key graph from the report:

Dependency ratio