Aging and America: Demographic Change and Its Consequences for Work and Retirement

May 2014 | by Pamela Perun and Paul Yakoboski

In 2012, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences issued a comprehensive report documenting the aging of the U.S. population and analyzing the economic effects this phenomenon may trigger over the next 40 years. The report, Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population, identified two potential policy strategies for mitigating the economic consequences of population aging: 1) enabling people to increase their savings for retirement; and 2) encouraging people to postpone retirement by working longer.1

In November 2013, the TIAA-CREF Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation sponsored a colloquium of researchers and policy analysts to discuss how to help people save more and work longer.2 The colloquium, Towards a Policy Agenda for an Aging America, began with a panel during which the key findings and implications of the National Academy report were reviewed. A second panel discussion focused on improving the planning and saving behavior of American workers. Senator Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Pension and Education Committee, then gave a keynote address, presenting his perspectives on enabling people to save more by improving the U.S. public and private pension system for workers. A final panel focused on research and policy initiatives for longer work.


Pamela Perun
TIAA-CREF Institute

Paul Yakoboski
TIAA-CREF Institute

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