The Shape of Things to Come: A Series

The Concord Coalition and the Global Aging Institute (GAI) have joined forces to produce a quarterly issue brief series called The Shape of Things to Come that explores the fiscal, economic, social, and geopolitical implications of the aging of America. Although the series is U.S. focused, it also touches on the aging challenge in countries around the world and draws lessons from their experience.

Special Publication

Why The National Debt Still Matters

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The federal debt held by the public has already passed 100 percent of GDP, up from 35 percent in 2007 on the eve of the Great Recession. According to the latest March 2021 CBO long-term budget projections, which do not take into account the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act or other new spending initiatives now being debated, it will hit 202 percent of GDP by 2051, nearly double the all-time record of 106 percent set at the end of World War II. And there are good reasons to believe that this projection is optimistic. 

Special Publication

The Macro Challenges of Population Aging

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

By Richard Jackson, Global Aging Institute

The aging of America is ushering in a new era unlike any in the nation’s past. For most of its history, America was a demographically youthful society. As recently as 1940, there were more college-age youth aged 18 to 21 than elderly aged 65 and over. Yet today there are three times as many elderly as college-age youth and by 2050 there will be at least five times as many. For most of its history, America was also a demographically expanding society.

Issue Brief

Five Imperatives for an Aging America

Monday, February 01, 2021

By Richard Jackson, Global Aging Institute

As 2021 begins, America is beset by a host of urgent challenges.  At home, the nation remains deeply divided in the wake of a bitterly contested election. Abroad, authoritarianism is on the rise and liberal democracy in retreat. Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to endanger both our health and our economy.

Special Publication

Are Health Spans Rising Along with Life Spans?

Monday, December 21, 2020

By Richard Jackson, Global Aging Institute

The aging of the United States threatens to usher in a new era of relentless fiscal pressure, economic stagnation, and growing intergenerational conflict that pits the interests of the old against those of the young.  Or does it?  Long-term fiscal and economic projections generally assume a continuation of today’s behaviors and policies.  Their purpose is to show us what is likely to happen if we stay on our current course, and they often fail to anticipate developments that could fundamentally alter the outcome.

Special Publication

The Case for Longer Work Lives

Monday, August 03, 2020

By Richard Jackson, Global Aging Institute

When it comes to America’s aging challenge, it sometimes seems as if all of the possible policy responses involve painful tradeoffs between higher taxes and lower benefits.  While such tradeoffs are unavoidable, there is one response that could greatly mitigate the need for them.  We are talking about extending work lives.


Special Publication

America's Demographic Future

Thursday, May 21, 2020

America, along with the rest of the developed world, is being overtaken by a stunning demographic transformation called global aging. By 2050, the elderly share of the U.S. population, which was 12 percent as recently as 2000, will climb to 22 percent. In Europe the elderly share of the population will reach 28 percent, and in Japan, which is ground zero for global aging, it will reach 38 percent. Most developed countries will not only have aging populations, but stagnant or declining ones.