The problem stems from this post-World War II generation’s failure to procreate at a replacement rate. As a result, the ratio of working-aged Americans to those 65 and older is shrinking. For the first time in the nation’s history, the number of elderly is approaching the number of youngsters. Come 2030, for instance, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there will be about 95.1 million persons 19 years of age and younger versus some 71.5 million persons 65 years and older.The solution?
Here, a new Heritage Foundation analysis proves useful. It assesses the effects of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611), cosponsored by senators Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.) and Mel Martinez (R., Fla), based on a variety of scenarios. Taking the 20 percent maximum annual growth in “guest workers” permitted under the bill, the study reckons the net increase in immigrant workers would be about 60.7 million persons over the next two decades, excluding both dependents and the 19 million permanent-residence visas authorized under current law.Interesting, no?
The estimated 60.7 million new guest workers under the Hagel-Martinez bill would still fall short of the 109.1 million people in the 20-to-64 age bracket needed by 2026 to maintain the current 4.7:1 ratio of working aged persons to Americans 65 and older. An additional 41 million people would be needed by 2026 to keep the worker-to-elder ratio at its current level. This could be achieved by increasing the number of permanent-residence visas authorized by law. Currently, around 950,000 visas are issued each year.