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March 1, 1958


Author Affiliations

Director, Bureau of Medical Economic Research.

JAMA. 1958;166(9):1051-1057. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.62990090007015

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As the bumper crop of babies born since World War II matures into 21-year-old voters, the electorates of Western nations will start "younging." The proportion of older voters, which has risen rapidly in the 20th century, will reach a peak and then decline. The terrific pressure on political leaders to provide security for the rising tide of oldsters —and, perhaps, to advance other welfare state programs—will wane. The accent will again be on youth, as one of the great forces which produced the trend toward the welfare state goes into reverse gear.

Consider voters 50 years of age and over as the older voters and those below age 50 as the younger voters. How soon will the percentage of older voters start to decline in some of the leading Western nations? The table shows the peak year and the shift in the number of older voters per 100 voters since

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