Sunday, August 18, 2013

Percent of Population in Prime Working Age

by Bill McBride on 8/18/2013 09:45:00 AM

Last week I posted an animation of the age and distribution of the U.S. population over time. The animations used actual data from 1900 to 2010, and Census Bureau projection from 2015 through 2060.

I mentioned that the ratio of total Americans in the prime working age will be about the same in 2060 as in 1900. The graph below shows the percent of population in the prime working age from 1900 to 2060 (I used two definitions of prime working age "25 to 54" and "25 to 59". Over time, the prime working age has expanded to included the "55 to 59" age group (red line).

Of course in the 1900s, the non-prime working age was mostly children, and in the 2000s, the non-prime working age will be more evenly split between children and the elderly. This table shows the percent of the population under 25, 25 to 54, and over 55.

Percent of U.S. Population by Age selected Decades
 190020002060
Under 25 Years Old54.0%35.3%29.6%
Percent 25 to 54 Years Old36.6%43.6%37.3%
Percent 55+ Years Old9.4%21.1%33.1%

Percent of Population in Prime Working Age Click on graph for larger image.
The blue line is the percent of the total population in the 25 to 54 age group. The red line is for 25 to 60.

The prime working age has shifted over time. In 1900, the prime working age probably included the 20 to 24 age group, and maybe even many people in the 16 to 19 age group. By 2060, the prime working age may expand to 25 to 64.

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