By the year 2030 the Aging Crisis
will have reached its peak. The aging Baby Boomer generation will have put a
severe strain on welfare systems, and worsened by longer life expectancy. The
senior citizen population will have doubled, and there may not be enough working
youths support them if they cannot support themselves. John
R. Bermingham states that, “demographic shrinking and aging will be accompanied
by economic, social and cultural disruptions that can only partially be offset
by immigration” (2001). A positive immigration policy will sustain America;
perhaps even propel it into economic growth. On that note, policy changes are
the second half of the solution as one cannot be fully beneficial without the
The aging crisis
exists now because of the Baby Boomer generation. This baby boom took place
almost exactly nine months following World War II. It began with 3.4 million
births in 1946, which was around 20 percent more than the preceding year. “In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.9 million
were born in 1952; and more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until
1964, when the boom finally tapered off” (Staff,
the end of the baby boom, almost 40 percent of the population was made up of “Baby
Boomers,” as there were 76.4 million boomers in the United States.
Today the oldest Baby Boomers are in their
early 70’s, and because the Baby Boomer generation is much larger than the generations
that followed, there may not be enough working taxpayers to support them. Meeting
the 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 be
enough for these aging Baby Boomers; especially with longer life expectancies
than ever before. Immigration may be the key to supporting this older
generation in America.
Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) is the body of law governing current
immigration policy in the United States. They are based on the principles of
reunification of families, admitting skilled immigrants, protecting refugees,
and promoting diversity. They impose a limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants a
year. According to Olga Khazan, “immigrants not only help inflate our overall
population, 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 aid
in the task of supporting the older generations. Without immigrants living in
the United States and having children, we would drop below the birth
replacement rate sustaining the population in America.
The biggest issues
with immigration lie with policy. “The biggest challenge for policy makers is
distinguishing illusionary immigration problems from real problems” (Johnson & Kane, 2006). The focus has
shifted in more recent years to that of border security, strengthening the
verification of employment with the employer, and establishing a new and better
guest worker program. This is largely due to the real issue of immigration
policy being recognized as security, rather than increased immigration being a
supposed threat to the economy. If we allowed the estimated 11 million illegal
immigrants already living and working in the united states to receive full
citizenship, 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. Not
only that, but these people would have a higher chance of going to college or
learning a trade. Illegal immigration is just the most obvious symptom of a
The aging crisis
is the aftermath of the Baby Boomer generation that came into being after the
Great Depression and World War II. With more births than ever before or ever
since, and longer life expectancies thanks to medical advances, taking care of
this aging generation poses a problem in America. Immigration and changes to
current policies go hand in hand to serve as the solution to the impending
economic strains. The United States of America is a land of Immigrants, and
changing that now would only lead to more hardship.