What America Could Be Like In 2050...In 9 Charts
A lot can change in a decade. But what about three? We set out to answer a simple question: what will the United States be like in the year 2050?
How will the population change? What will happen to marriage and divorce? How valuable will a bachelor's degree be? And how much will you be making?
In order to answer these questions, we turned to the United States Census Bureau, then plotted historical data for a dozen factors in the following charts. Finally, we ran a regression analysis to predict where we would be in 35 years.
In 2050…over 400 million people will live in the United States.
While Americans aren't cranking out babies quite as fast as a century ago, the US population continues to grow quickly. In 1950, there were just over 150 million people living in the United States. By 2050? That number will surpass 400 million.
In 2050…more than one in four Americans will identify as Hispanic.
Today, around one in six Americans identify as Hispanic. In 2050, more than one in four Americans (26.7 percent) will claim Hispanic ethnicity. (Keep in mind that the US Census Bureau does not define "Hispanic" as a race, but rather as a way that individuals may choose to identify themselves.)
In 2050…there will be 7.5 million more women than men in the US.
In the mid-1800s, men outnumbered women in America. The numbers then flipped during World War II, and women have been outpacing men ever since. The country can look forward to a United States with 7.5 million more females than males in 2050. Keep in mind, however, that the overall percentage split will still be close, at 49/51 percent.
In 2050…fewer than 2 out of 5 people will be married.
Today, about half of Americans are married, down from over 60 percent in 1970. This number should continue to decline over the next several decades, with less than 40 percent of Americans tying the knot in 2050.
In 2050…nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be divorced.
While the marriage rate decreases, the divorce will slowly increase. In 2050, over 20 percent of Americans will be divorced.
In 2050…large families will be virtually nonexistent.
Just prior to 1800, 51 percent of American families had at least six members, including parents and kids. That figure has dropped rapidly over the last two centuries, with just one in 20 US families of that size in 2010. By 2050, the four-or-more-kid families will be a true rarity, likely dropping close to 0 percent.
In 2050…over 40 percent of Americans will have at least a bachelor's degree.
If there's a bright spot next to growing divorce rates, it's American education. In 2050, over 40 percent of Americans will have a bachelor's degree. That said, about the same percent of Americans were high school graduates in 1970. By 2050, the college degree will truly be the new high school diploma.
In 2050…nearly 5.5x as many people will live in cities as in the country.
It's tough to say what's been more impressive: the fantastic growth of American cities, or the incredible stability of US country dwellers. The number of rural residents in the United States has remained steady at around 50 million since 1900, while urban dwellers have rocketed from 30 million to over 250 million. In 2050, expect there to be nearly 5.5 times as many city folks as country folks.
In 2050…about 86 million Americans will be foreign born.
The foreign-born population in America grew slowly from 1850 to 1920, then stalled out through the 1970s. Since then, however, growth has accelerated dramatically. Given the current trends, we project more than one in five Americans to be foreign-born by 2050 (a jump from 13 percent to 21.3 percent of the US population).
Note: the US Census Bureau does not provide data for 1960.
In 2050…you'll need to make $78,500 just to have the purchasing power of a $50,000 salary today.
Although inflation has slowed in very recent years, the dollar should continue to weaken over time. As a result, a $50,000 salary today will be worth a lot less in 2050. Start saving.
The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.