October 22, 2014

Certain States Illustrate Demographic Challenges Ahead

  • Social Security, established in 1935, is the federal government’s largest program. It represents approximately one-fifth of the federal budget and...

North Carolina is one of the states to which older people are flocking, drawn in part by its charm, natural beauty and low living costs.

But North Carolina’s rapidly aging population also poses significant challenges “that point towards what’s ahead for the entire country as more and more of the baby boom generation leaves the workforce,” says The Concord Coalition’s Sara Imhof.

In a Salisbury Post (N.C.) op-ed, she explains that this demographic shift and health care costs have put increasing pressure on the federal budget. She notes two key reports this summer:

  • In its long-term outlook, the Congressional Budget Office projects that if current laws remain generally unchanged, federal debt held by the public — already high at roughly 74 percent of GDP — would exceed 100 percent within 25 years, and would continue rising after that.
  • The Medicare and Social Security trustees confirmed in their annual reports that those programs are spending more than they take in from payroll taxes and premiums.

To help Salisbury area residents better understand the country’s fiscal challenges, Imhof facilitated a public budget exercise recently in Salisbury.