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 2019, 2.8 people are 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 2.2 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 25% in 2035, rising to a 33% increase by 2093. Social Security's payroll tax rate has already risen by 6.2 times since the outset of the program, and its inflation-adjusted taxable maximum has grown by 2.5 times.