S4-EP12: Bradley Schurman on Our Aging Population and How It Could Eradicate Ageism

Mar 11, 2022


Debbie talks with demographic futurist Bradley Schurman about the megatrend of our aging population and what this means in terms of the economy, ageism, workplace policies, longevity and more.



Today Debbie speaks with Bradley Schurman about the megatrend of an aging population, both in the U.S. and globally. Bradley is a demographic futurist and the author of a provocative new book: The Super Age: Decoding Our Demographic Destiny.

The aging of our population represents the intersection of two other megatrends: decreased birth rates and increased longevity. 

The numbers are staggering: By 2030, one out of five Americans will be over 65. To put it another way, In the next two years the number of those 65 and over, in the U.S., will be equal to those under 18. 

So what does this mean? Well it’s complicated. 

Obviously it means that society needs to adapt and to change. But Debbie’s question to Bradley is, will it – and how long will it take? 

There are so many interrelated factors.

In his book he talks about the economy (the impact on social security and medicare and more), societal attitudes (meaning ageism), workplace policies, lifetime education and training, housing, geography (urban vs. rural), advertising and marketing, and the startling inequities in longevity between the well off and the poor and between races.

In their conversation they focus on the workplace and the changes that will have to happen in order for businesses and the economy to thrive. 

Bradley is an incorrigible optimist, as you’ll hear, and Debbie so very much wants to believe him. 

In his future scenario older workers will be welcomed into the workforce well past retirement age, both society and government will change how older people are viewed and treated, and older people will move from the sidelines where they are now, often seen as expendable and not useful, to center stage. 

Bradley says this can happen in a decade. Debbie is skeptical about how fast we’ll see change.

 Lots to think about in this conversation and in Bradley’s new book.



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