The Longevity Economy® Outlook

Jump to Executive Summary

Something is transforming our markets and our world. It's the economic and societal contribution of Americans age 50-plus, worth over $9 trillion in 2018 and projected to grow.

The 50-plus population now represents four generations (from the GI generation to Generation X) and by 2031 will include millions of Millennials. Generation Z will join the 50-plus cohort in 2047.

As people live longer and healthier lives, they are contributing to communities and fueling economic growth well past the traditional retirement age. The contributions of people 50-plus benefit society and Americans of all ages, due to growing numbers of people this age who are working, paying taxes, supporting the growing job market, giving time and money to charitable causes, and caregiving for family and loved ones. These economic trends will continue to lay the foundation for economic growth through 2050, according to a new analysis from AARP.

Key Insights

The economic contributions of the 50-plus age group will grow from $8.3 trillion in 2018 to $28.2 trillion by 2050.

Economic Contributions of People 50-plus

GDP Impact (Trillions)

  • $30.0
  • $25.0
  • $20.0
  • $15.0
  • $10.0
  • $5.0
  • $0.0

In 2018, 44% of all jobs were held or created by people 50-plus, representing 88.6 million jobs. This is projected to grow to 102.8 million jobs by 2050.

million jobs

The wages and salaries generated by people 50-plus were $5.7 trillion in 2018 and are projected to grow to $19.2 trillion by 2050.

Wages and Salaries Generated by People 50-plus

GDP Impact (Trillions)

  • $20.0
  • $15.0
  • $10.0
  • $5.0
  • $0.0

People age 50-plus contribute significantly to federal, state and local taxes, and their contribution will quadruple in dollar value terms from $2.1 trillion in 2018 to $8.3 trillion by 2050.



Spending by people 50-plus amounted to $7.6 trillion in 2018 – accounting for 56 cents (or 56%) of every dollar spent. This cohort is forecast to spend $27.5 trillion by 2050 (61% of total spending).



People 50-plus contributed unpaid activities worth $745 billion* in 2018.

in caregiving, up 76% since 2000

in volunteering, up 112% since 2000

*Note: Data may not add to totals due to rounding.

Explore the Data

Show the Trend: The Impact of Americans Age 50 and Older by 2050

As the share of older Americans in the population grows, so will their contribution to society.

Select a metric to see how much people 50-plus will contribute to the economy in 2050.

Economic Metric

Giving Back: The Value of Unpaid Activities

Beyond direct market activities, Americans age 50 and older contribute billions of dollars worth of work through unpaid activities like volunteering and caregiving for children and adults.

View the total contribution of unpaid activities below or select a specific category to see its value.

Living and Working Longer: How People Age 50 and Older Support Jobs and America's Economy

As Americans live longer, healthier lives, they are holding and creating more jobs across every industry sector.

2018 Employment in the Automobile industry by Age


Legend for pie chart below: red represents workers 50-plus

Consumer Spending Among the 50-Plus Population Benefits Families, Businesses and Communities at Large

People 50-plus spent $7.6 trillion on goods and services in 2018. This is projected to grow to $27.5 trillion by 2050.

A significant amount of this growth comes from the fact that more people will enter the 50-plus age group over time.

Health care spending


Projected Market Opportunity

Select industries to project the percentage of every dollar spent by the growing 50-plus market.