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Had an interesting conversation with friends this evening about American demographics and voting trends. We reached some conclusions that, while consonant with what I've seen others write, might still be worth repeating...
The focus of our conversation was that the American population is getting grayer. This seems to be the result of two interlocking long-term trends. First, better health care, nutrition, etc are allowing Americans to live longer, on the average. Second, the American birthrate is decreasing. While it is undoubtedly true that the aging "baby boomer bubble" is a big short-term contributor, over 20 year time scales it likely pales next to longer lives and lower birthrate.
The scary problem: folks' ability to cope in old age isn't extending as quickly as the population is aging. America is accumulating larger and larger numbers of elderly with little function and/or poor quality of life.
One suggested consequence is the inevitable greater opening of our borders to immigrants. Someone will have to provide all the care and services that our elderly will need, and with a decreasing population the young American natives won't be able to take up the slack.
I speculated that one big pressure keeping the Mexican border closed is the desire to keep workers avilable and wages down at the "Maquiladora" factories just South of the border. It will be interesting to see if that tendency counterbalances the other.
Truly a brave new world we'll be living in.