Labor Force Participation And Human Capital Increases In An Aging Population And Implications For U.S. Research Investment

Source: Kenneth G. Manton, Gene R. Lowrimore, Arthur D. Ullian, XiLiang Gu, and H. Dennis Tolley, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Communicated by Robert W. Fogel, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, May 14, 2007

The proportion of the United States labor force ≥65 years of age is projected to increase between 2004 and 2014 by the passing of age 65 of the large post-World War II baby boom cohorts starting in 2010 and their greater longevity, income, education, and health. The aging of the U.S. labor force will continue to at least 2034, when the largest of the baby boom cohorts reaches age 70. Thus, the average health and functional capacity of persons age 65+ must improve for sufficient numbers of elderly persons to be physically and cognitively capable of work. This will require greater investments in research, public health, and health care. We examine how disability declines and improved health may increase human capital at later ages and stimulate the growth of gross domestic product and national wealth.

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