Agri-Musings: The Effects of Retirement

In 1975, I wrote a high school paper on population dynamics. Who knew what an impact that paper would have on my life? From that point on, I looked at everything though the lens of demographics. After I married, my husband and I made financial, family, and work decisions based on how we thought society would be shaped by the age distribution of our population.

Much of what we predicted is coming to pass. Globally, there are competing interests for natural resources. Nationally, the impacts of population growth and increasing urbanization are changing our landscape and the fabric of our society. And the impact of aging baby boomers retiring, en masse, is changing the job market, health care, financial markets, volunteerism, tourism, and how society looks at careers and aging.

In California, rapid retirement of baby boomers will be felt acutely because of over-committed pension funds, the impacts of a rapid “brain drain”, and high-levels of California emigration among retirees.

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPCI) Reports:

  • Retirees grew from 3.8 million in 2008 to 5.2 million in 2018 (38% increase).
  • Compare this 38% increase in retirees to the 8% population growth.
  • Retirees were, on the average well-educated. From 2008 to 2018, the education levels of retirees were:
    • ~700,000 people with college degrees
    • ~250,000 people with associate degrees
    • ~ 300,000 people with high school education
  • There are more than 70,000 new retirees with bachelor’s degree each year for the last decade.
  • Only 55,000 new bachelor’s degrees are awarded by the entire University of California system each year.
  • California could see a shortfall of college graduates of 1.1 million by 2030.
  • PPIC claims that the state is increasing funding for increased enrollment, graduation rates, and degrees awarded, but provides no substantiation for these claims.

Johnson, Hans. Many of California’s Highly Educated Workers are Retiring. Public Policy Institute of California. (January 24, 2019)