(FED Board of St. Louis) Fewer workers are providing benefits for more of the elderly and the info below shows the problem worldwide. It is obviously due to the aging populace as well as the lower birth rate.

Ratio of Working Age Population to the Retirement Age Population
Year Canada France Germany Italy Japan UK US
1960 7.7 5.3 6.3 7.5 10.5 5.6 6.5
1990 5.9 4.7 4.5 4.7 5.8 4.3 5.3
2010 4.7 4.1 2.8 3.9 3.4 4.5 5.3
2030 3.5 3.3 3.0 3.4 3.0 3.9 4.9
2040 2.6 2.6 2.1 2.4 2.6 3.9 3.1

We may look bad, but check out Japan.

In some countries, the working age population has risen while in others it has fallen. In 1960. 63% of the working age population in the U.S. and 69% of the population in France was working. In 1990, that had increased to 73% in the U.S. but had dropped to 61% in France. Part of France's problem was the socialistic society which made it financially worthwhile to retire early with lots of payments.

SOCIAL SECURITY: (WSJ) The number of workers that provide benefits to retirees has dropped considerably since inception.

Year Number of U.S. workers supporting one retiree

1950 17

1960 5

1970 4

1980/1990 3.5

2000 3 estimated

2010 2.75

2020 2.5

2030 2.0

By 2013, receipts will fall short of benefits. But "excess" savings will help it stay fluid till about 2020. (That's assuming that the excess has not already been spent by our delightful government- which it has. By 2030, SS will be broke. The article noted that by increasing the payroll tax 2.2%, split between EE's and ER's, it could stay afloat for another 75 years. Most other articles suggest putting the funds into the stock market. That does have a certain viability, but there appears to be HUGE discrepancies between amounts available for different ages upon retirement (the poor getting less).

The less a worker makes, the more dependent they are on social security payments. Click here for more info.