Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Effect of the Aging Baby-Boom Population on the Demand for Social Services.

 This generation born between 1945 and 1964 is colloquially referred to as the baby-boom generation, and represents the spike in the birth rate after World War Two. According to a projection based on 2000 census data, by 2011, baby-boomers would comprise a quarter of the American population.

The 2010 census data confirms this trend. According to 2010 census data, the percentage of Americans between the ages of 45 and 65 increased 36% in the last 10 years. Over the next 30 years, the baby boom generation will dramatically increase the population of senior citizens in the United States.

The aging baby-boom population has often made its way into national political discourse, but mostly in reference to social security. However, the substantial increase in the elderly population is surely to affect the demand for social services as well, and local government would be wise to make preparations.


A Transit for America report on the senior mobility found that 90% of American seniors currently have poor access to transportation. This can be attributed to the fact that a large portion of the baby-boomers live in suburbs or away from the central city. 

The report gives implications for this problem: "absent options 
such as public transportation, aging seniors will  find themselves isolated and at risk for loneliness, poor health and economic hardship". The policy recommendations to deal with the future increased demand for public transit includes increasing transportation funding, coordination between programs, and developing community-based transportation programs. 

When it comes to public transit, the demand for the service is normally a superior good on a national scale and an inferior good on a personal scale. However, as the population ages and loses the ability to drive, it could become a superior good on both the national and personal levels. Transit service is also inelastic. 

Similar strains on city resources should be felt when it comes to fire service, housing, and EMT services. In all of these cases, the tax base should be relatively high. 

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