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Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 54 million Americans have reached traditional retirement age, 65 years and older, in the U.S. — a 34% jump over the past decade, per 2019 Census Bureau population estimates cited by Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The older population is expanding at a faster rate than that of children and working-age Americans, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. This means the country's dependency ratio has grown, Bloomberg notes, wherein federal, state and local governments are likely to feel the strain of older Americans' reliance on government services.

  • “And this is going to cause higher taxes," University of Michigan economic Richard Curtin told Bloomberg. "That represents a significant draw on consumers’ budgets.”

Of note: "...the under-18 population was smaller in 2019 than it was in 2010, in part due to lower fertility in the United States," Luke Rogers, chief of the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Branch said.

The state of play:

  • North Dakota is the only state across the U.S. to see an overall decline in its median age, which dropped from 37 in 2010 to 35.3 in 2019.
  • Nearly 13 million Americans are 80 and older.
  • The dependency ratio for 2019 shows there are 54 Americans in need of support for every 100 people of working age.

Go deeper

Sep 25, 2020 - Health

Young people accounted for 20% of coronavirus cases this summer

Hundreds of beachgoers pack in without social distancing in July. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

People in their 20s accounted for more than 20% of all COVID-19 cases between June and August, analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, bringing the median age of coronavirus patients to 37, down from 46 in the spring.

Why it matters: Young people are less vulnerable to serious illness, but they contributed to community spread over the summer, the analysis says — meaning they likely infected older, higher-risk people, especially in the South.

Sep 23, 2020 - Health

CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus

CDC Director Robert Redfield said at a Senate hearing Wednesday that preliminary data shows that over 90% of Americans remain susceptible to COVID-19 — meaning they have not yet been exposed to the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The U.S. surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths this week — the most recorded in the world — and over 6.8 million Americans have contracted the virus so far.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.