On New Year’s Day, the oldest of the Baby Boomers turned 65 years old, and millions more are to follow. According to Pew Research Center population projects, 10,000 more will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years. By 2030, they say, more than 18 percent of the country will be older than 65, up from 13 percent today.
“By force of numbers alone, they almost certainly will redefine old age in America, just as they’ve made their mark on teen culture, young adult life and middle age,” the Pew report says.
This transition will have a huge impact on our society, putting major strains on our capacity to continue to provide social services that many have come to expect. In OurValues.org this week, we’ll look at some of those challenges and how we feel about them.
But one aspect of how the Boomers are approaching this speed bump might have an impact on how they are able to deal with all the others, and so we’ll start there. In short, “this famously huge cohort of Americans finds itself in a funk as it approaches old age,” according to the Pew report.
The survey says the Boomers are more downbeat than all other age groups about their own lives and about the direction of the country as a whole. Part of the negative attitude is explained by life cycle, but Boomers have spent most of their lives trailing other cohorts in life satisfaction.
So why the long faces? Why are Boomers so glum?
And what does that mean for our future?
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(Dr. Baker is away and has invited writer Terry Gallagher to carry us through the year-end holidays.)