Re: More Americans are retiring than ever before. See what that means for you.

Written by Marian Starkey | Published: July 5, 2023

We submitted the following letter to the editor on July 5, 2023, and are sharing it below since it wasn’t published by The New York Times.

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Dear Editor,

There is an unhelpful assumption about what constitutes a “dependent” in the article “More Americans are retiring than ever before. See what that means for you.” The ratio of retirement-age people per 100 “working age” people matters less than the ratio of both younger and older dependents to workers, which has declined dramatically in recent decades.

That ratio peaked in the U.S. at 95% in 1965. It has since plummeted to 72% due to lower fertility and a smaller share of young dependents. By the end of the century, it may gradually rise to what it was in the 1960s, but as life expectancy continues to rise, more Americans will inevitably work longer, nudging up typical retirement age.

Certainly, there are substantial costs related to population aging. But childcare and education are expensive too, as are obstetric and pediatric care. The societal benefits of smaller families outweigh the challenges.


Marian Starkey
VP for Communications
Population Connection