Based on current Social Security office projections, my 28-year-old son will be able to collect Social Security benefits for the rest of his life when he retires in 2040.
What’s that, you say? You thought Social Security was going to be bankrupt by 2040? Not at all. According to even the most pessimistic projections, Social Security will still be around in 2040.
What about the facts that people are living longer, that there will be only two-point-something workers per retiree and the impending crush of baby boomer retirements – the reasons the media and doomsayers give for the upcoming Social Security crisis? All of these events were predicted and included in the original 1983 projections. In fact, the only real surprise is that these predictions were too pessimistic.
Back in 1980, the U.S. Census Bureau said the population would grow an additional 16.9 percent by the year 2000, well below the 26.3 percent growth of the previous 20 years. The main reason for the projected slower growth was falling fertility trends.
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But fertility didn’t continue to fall – it reversed, and legal immigration rose. The result was the population increased by 24.2 percent between 1980 and 2000, some 43 percent faster than the government had predicted. As a result, this year our nation’s population hit 301 million, a number we weren’t supposed to hit until 2020. Thus there are millions upon millions more Social Security-contributing workers around today than were predicted.