Net Immigration and Projecting the Social Security Burden

Karen A. Woodrow-Lafield, University of Maryland

Annual Trustees Reports evaluate the future financial status of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, relying upon economic and demographic assumptions. The latter assumptions on mortality, fertility, immigration, and disability more strongly influence the future financial status in the long term. With retirements of Baby Boom cohorts, payout levels on retiree benefits are expected to surpass OASDI tax revenues with the crisis more imminent due to higher unemployment, increasing retirements, higher disability, and the slow economy. Net immigration has consistently implied contributions from additions of both current workers and their children as future workers. With attention to recent data and developments, this paper reviews immigration trends, considers implications of current immigration policies, and addresses the modeling of future immigration for the 21st century. Expert recommendations on immigration would have a deficit-decreasing impact for the long-term financial status.

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Presented in Session 104: Projecting International Migration