Related GAO Products in Calendar Years 2001 and 2002
GAO-04-275R: Published: Nov 21, 2003. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2003.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging requested a compilation of GAO's calendar years 2001 and 2002 products pertaining to older Americans and their families.
GAO noted that the country is in the midst of one of the most profound changes in American history--America's population, estimated at over 288 million in 2002, is growing older at a rapid pace. The number of Americans age 65 and older, estimated at 35 million in 2000, is expected to grow to 70 million by 2030 and to about 82 million in 2050, according to Bureau of the Census projections. Census projections also indicate that the fastest growing segment within the older population is individuals age 85 and older. The nation's aging population promises to have major policy and budgetary implications for the federal government. Without changes, Medicare is expected to nearly double its share of the economy by 2030, crowding out other spending and economic activity of value. In addition, although Social Security payroll tax revenues currently exceed expenditures, projections suggest that beginning in 2017, spending will exceed revenues by growing proportions and that in 2041, the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted. Addressing the needs of the elderly will likely become increasingly challenging and require sufficient knowledge about the issues facing this population. One of GAO's goals is to provide continued support of congressional and federal efforts relating to the health needs of an aging and diverse population and a secure retirement for older Americans. In striving to meet this goal, its work on aging-related programs and issues continues to reflect the broad range and importance of federal programs for older Americans. Its work during calendar years 2001 and 2002 primarily covered issues concerning health, income security, and veterans.