In 1955, nine people were working and paying Social Security payroll taxes for every person receiving Social Security benefits. What is this ratio today?
In 2016, 2.8 people were working and paying Social Security payroll taxes for every person receiving Social Security benefits. Under the program's intermediate projections, this figure will decline to 2.1 over the next 20 years, thus making the program insolvent. Three major contributors to this falling ratio include: (1) increases in life expectancy without comparable increases in the retirement age, (2) the higher birth rate of the baby boom generation compared to other generations, and (3) the increasing number of people receiving disability benefits. To keep Social Security solvent would require increasing payroll taxes by 29% starting in 2034, rising to a 36% increase by 2091. Social Security taxes have been raised more than a dozen times since the program began in 1935.