By the year 2030 the Aging Crisiswill have reached its peak.
The aging Baby Boomer generation will have put asevere strain on welfare systems, and worsened by longer life expectancy. Thesenior citizen population will have doubled, and there may not be enough workingyouths support them if they cannot support themselves. JohnR. Bermingham states that, “demographic shrinking and aging will be accompaniedby economic, social and cultural disruptions that can only partially be offsetby immigration” (2001). A positive immigration policy will sustain America;perhaps even propel it into economic growth.
On that note, policy changes arethe second half of the solution as one cannot be fully beneficial without theother.The aging crisisexists now because of the Baby Boomer generation. This baby boom took placealmost exactly nine months following World War II. It began with 3.4 millionbirths in 1946, which was around 20 percent more than the preceding year. “In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.
9 millionwere born in 1952; and more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until1964, when the boom finally tapered off” (Staff, 2010). Bythe end of the baby boom, almost 40 percent of the population was made up of “BabyBoomers,” as there were 76.4 million boomers in the United States. Today the oldest Baby Boomers are in theirearly 70’s, and because the Baby Boomer generation is much larger than the generationsthat followed, there may not be enough working taxpayers to support them. Meetingthe long-term care needs of Baby Boomers will require social and public policy changes,and these changes must begin to happen rather soon (Knickman & Snell, 2002).Social Security, pensions, 401(k) plans, IRAs, and personal savings may not beenough for these aging Baby Boomers; especially with longer life expectanciesthan ever before. Immigration may be the key to supporting this oldergeneration in America.
TheImmigration and Naturalization Act (INA) is the body of law governing currentimmigration policy in the United States. They are based on the principles ofreunification of families, admitting skilled immigrants, protecting refugees,and promoting diversity. They impose a limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants ayear. According to Olga Khazan, “immigrants not only help inflate our overallpopulation, but they also tend to have more children than Americans do” (2014).These children being born will someday grow up, enter the work force, and aidin the task of supporting the older generations. Without immigrants living inthe United States and having children, we would drop below the birthreplacement rate sustaining the population in America. The biggest issueswith immigration lie with policy.
“The biggest challenge for policy makers isdistinguishing illusionary immigration problems from real problems” (Johnson & Kane, 2006). The focus hasshifted in more recent years to that of border security, strengthening theverification of employment with the employer, and establishing a new and betterguest worker program. This is largely due to the real issue of immigrationpolicy being recognized as security, rather than increased immigration being asupposed threat to the economy. If we allowed the estimated 11 million illegalimmigrants already living and working in the united states to receive fullcitizenship, it would be good for not only them, but the entire country.
Citizenship would allow them to earn higher wages, serve on a jury, and vote. Notonly that, but these people would have a higher chance of going to college orlearning a trade. Illegal immigration is just the most obvious symptom of abroken system.The aging crisisis the aftermath of the Baby Boomer generation that came into being after theGreat Depression and World War II.
With more births than ever before or eversince, and longer life expectancies thanks to medical advances, taking care ofthis aging generation poses a problem in America. Immigration and changes tocurrent policies go hand in hand to serve as the solution to the impendingeconomic strains. The United States of America is a land of Immigrants, andchanging that now would only lead to more hardship.