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Is Demography Destiny?
The Answer is No, Say a Group of
Policy Experts and Academics
Most Americans know that the U.S. population is aging. They have
heard about the Census Bureaus projection that the elderly
population will more than double by the year 2040 and they have
heard dire predictions about the collapse of Medicare and the Social
Security system as a consequence. What they have heard less about,
however, is the other factors that will affect the future.
Demography Is Not Destiny (1999),
from the National Academy on an Aging Society, uses data from a
variety of sources to examine past and anticipated trends. The 96-page
report (sold-out, but available for free download) presents some
compelling evidence to show that the aging of society poses a challenge,
but not a crisis. Also, the challenge can be met with a reasoned
set of policy choices.
Demography Is Not Destiny,
Revisited (2005), from Georgetown University's center
on an Aging Society, this report builds on the originial, updating
the data and reexamining the points made in the 1999 report with
the advantage of more years of data and the commentary collected
from the first version. Both projects were supported by grants from
the Commonwealth Fund, a New York City-based national foundation
sponsoring independent research on health and social issues. The
views presented in these reports are those of the authors and should
not be attributed to The Commonwealth Fund or its directors, officers,