Ticking Demographic Time Bomb

Ticking Demographic Time Bomb

The United States is home to some 11.3 million undocumented immigrants, according to Pew Research Center estimates. Three of every four of these are Latin American. This number stabilized and even dropped in the economic turmoil in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis – in fact, since the Great Recession ended, more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here.

Fewer new arrivals mean that those immigrants who remain are aging and more likely to be long-term residents. The median length of time that unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. is now nearly 13 years, up from less than eight years a decade earlier. Among unauthorized adults, 62 percent in 2012 had lived in the U.S. for a decade or more, compared with 35 percent in 2000.

With longer tenures, many of these immigrants started families in the U.S. and now live with their U.S.-born children. As they age, questions regarding the place and resources to retire have started to surface. Many of them hope to retire in their home countries one day – and many others look forward to living the rest of their lives in the U.S. But both of these groups have something in common: They are woefully underprepared for the financial burdens of retirement.

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Frederick Blalock
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