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Only Migration Can Save the Welfare State

Rich Countries Need 380 Million More Workers By 2050

Kurdish immigrant workers in Riace,​ Italy, May 2011 Stefano De Luigi / VII / Redux

In the coming decades, the developed world will face a daunting demographic challenge. As life expectancy goes up and fertility rates go down in North America, Europe, and the Pacific nations of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, older, retirement-age populations will grow while labor forces shrink. Rich countries, in other words, are running out of young people. 

My son is 30 years old. By the time he reaches the age of 60 in 2050, his entire generation will have to cope with the consequences of the coming demographic deficit. Programs such as Social Security and Medicare that support the elderly in the United States may prove impossible to fund. At the same time, a shortage of young workers will leave crucial gaps in the labor market, especially when it comes to caring for the elderly.

The solution is at once simple and politically challenging: in the coming decades, rich countries should open their

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