Peterson Foundation and Ford Foundation Announce Grants for US 2050 Initiative

Aug 20, 2018

Contact: Jeremy Rosen

Thirty-one research papers commissioned to analyze demographic, socioeconomic, and fiscal trends that will shape America’s future economy and society

NEW YORK (August 20, 2018) — The Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation today announced $1.5 million in grant awards for US 2050, a unique research initiative examining the multiple demographic, economic, societal, and fiscal trends shaping America in the decades ahead.

The funding supports 31 new research papers authored by leading scholars and experts in the areas of demographics, poverty, labor economics, macroeconomics, political science, and sociology. Taking a cross-disciplinary approach, US 2050 will create a comprehensive view of our fiscal and economic future, exploring the implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans. This unique body of research seeks to add long-term perspective to the public debate about the complex challenges that lie ahead for America in order to help policymakers prepare for the future.

“America is in the midst of a profound transformation — with demographic, social, economic, and technological changes underway that will reshape our future in ways that are not yet fully understood,” said Michael A. Peterson, Chairman and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “Through US 2050, this remarkable group of researchers will give us a clearer understanding of our changing nation. By offering new insights into what the future holds, we can help lawmakers set policies for the long term that can ensure economic opportunities and better quality of life for Americans in the decades ahead.”

“The trajectory of inequality in the United States is pernicious but not unstoppable, but we must have a clear handle on the emerging trends if we are going to have an opportunity to change course,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “It seems like a bygone era when we could agree on the facts to create sound public policy to improve the lives of all Americans, but it’s a necessary component and why we are excited about this project and our partnership with the Peterson Foundation.”

The central research question of US 2050 explores how the changing demographics of America — including age, race, ethnicity, and other factors — affect the future fiscal and economic health of the nation, and what are the optimal policies to prepare for and respond to the challenges and opportunities that this future presents. US 2050 research projects will address transformative topics and help connect the dots between a range of interrelated issues, including: labor force participation, education, poverty, immigration, fertility, health status, caregiving, family structure, retirement savings, the future of political institutions, and more.

US 2050 paper titles, authors, and institutions are listed below:

  • Anticipating Spatial Patterns of Work, Poverty and Safety Net Provision in the US, Scott Allard (University of Washington)
  • Changing Demographics, Changing Economy: Implications for Retirement Security in 2050, Barbara Butrica (Urban Institute)
  • Class Gaps in Parental Investments in Children: How will Changes to Family Structure Affect Socio-Economic Divides in Parental Investments, Orestes Pat Hastings (Colorado State University) and Daniel Schneider (University of California, Berkeley)
  • The Consequences of Poor Health in Childhood Over the Life Course and Across Generations, Robert Bozick (RAND Corporation) and Narayan Sastry (University of Michigan)
  • Continued Decline or Institutional Developments in Congress?, Daniel Stid (Hewlett Foundation)
  • The Education Premium and Its Impact on Racial and Gender Differentials in Future Earnings and Retirement Income, Damir Cosic (Urban Institute)
  • Ensuring Equity in the Future of Work: Technological Change and the Changing Fortunes of Older Black Women Workers, Chandra Childers (Institute for Women's Policy Research)
  • Financial Fragility Among Middle-Income Households, Andrea Hasler (George Washington University) and Annamaria Lusardi (George Washington University)
  • Fiscal Implications of Health Trends and Disease Interventions through 2050, Bryan Tysinger (University of Southern California) and Dana Goldman (University of Southern California)
  • Growth in Change Among Vulnerable Nonresident Fathers, Ronald Mincy (Columbia University) and Hyunjoon Um (Columbia University)
  • How Will the Changing Demographic Profile of America Affect Retirement Saving?, Jason Fichtner (Johns Hopkins University), William Gale (The Brookings Institution), and Hilary Gelfond (The Brookings Institution)
  • Immigrants and the US Wage Distribution, Vasil Yasenov (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Immigration and Medicare’s Fiscal Solvency: A Microsimulation, Lu Shi (Clemson University) and Gerald Kominski (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Immigration and Tomorrow’s Elderly, Kristin Butcher (Wellesley College) and Tara Watson (Williams College)
  • The Impact of Race on Political Fundraising, Sarah Bryner (Center for Responsive Politics), Grace Haley (Center for Responsive Politics), and Doug Weber (Center for Responsive Politics)
  • Internal Migration in the US: Recent Patterns and Potential Drivers, Sewin Chan (New York University), Katherine O’Regan (New York University), and Wei You (New York University)
  • Is the Drop in Fertility Temporary or Permanent?, Alicia Munnell (Boston College), Anqi Chen (Boston College), and Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher (Boston College)
  • Multigenerational Cycles of Poverty: The Transmission of Childhood Poverty Across Three Generations, Fabian Pfeffer (University of Michigan) and Davis Daumler (University of Michigan)
  • Neighborhood Disadvantage and Children’s Cognitive Skill Trajectories, Katie Vinopal (Ohio State University) and Taryn Morrissey (American University)
  • New Stylized Facts from Old Job Search Media, George Borjas (Harvard University), Jason Anastasopoulos (University of Georgia), Gavin Cook (Princeton University), and Michael Lachanski (Princeton University)
  • Past and Present Differences in Opportunity by Neighborhood, Catherine Massey (University of Colorado), Jonathan Rothbaum (US Census Bureau), and Liana Fox (US Census Bureau)
  • Preparing the Future Workforce: Early Care and Education Participation Among Children of Immigrants, Erica Greenberg (Urban Institute), Gina Adams (Urban Institute), and Victoria Rosenboom (Urban Institute)
  • Race, Identity and Legislative Politics, Danielle Lemi (Southern Methodist University)
  • The Role of Institutions in Shaping America’s Future Demographics, Jennifer Sciubba (Rhodes College)
  • Sentiments and Worker Readiness for the Future of Work, Ismail White (Duke University) and Harin Contractor (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies)
  • Socioeconomic Disparities in Lifetime Disability Experience: Implications for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Melissa Favreault (Urban Institute)
  • The US Labor Market in 2050: Supply, Demand and Public Policy, Harry Holzer (Georgetown University)
  • Variation in Achieved and Intended Fertility and Demographic Scenarios for Future Fertility, Alison Gemmill (The Research Foundation for the State University of New York)
  • Visualizing the Demand and Supply of Financial Aid for College, Drew Anderson (RAND Corporation)
  • Will Fewer Children Boost Demand for Long-Term Care?, Gal Wettstein (Boston College) and Alice Zulkarnain (Boston College)
  • Work-Related Opportunity Costs of Providing Unpaid Care for Aging Parents, Stipica Mudrazija (Urban Institute)

Note: not all organizations are receiving grant funding.

Papers will be developed throughout 2018 and reviewed at a research conference in the fall. Final papers will be presented at an event in early 2019. A distinguished Advisory Committee of academics and policy experts will continue to guide this program, adding valuable expertise across the key research disciplines. The Committee is coordinated by the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, and includes:

  • Charles Blahous, Mercatus Center
  • Heather Boushey, Washington Center on Equitable Growth
  • Camille Busette, Brookings Institution
  • Susan Collins, Ford School of Public Policy
  • Robert Doar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Maria Fitzpatrick, Cornell University
  • Andra Gillespie, Emory University
  • Bradley Hardy, American University
  • Doug Holtz-Eakin, American Action Forum
  • Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew Research Center
  • Ronald Mincy, Columbia University
  • Alicia Munnell, Boston College
  • Molly Reynolds, Brookings Institution
  • Louise Sheiner, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy
  • Margaret Simms, Urban Institute
  • Karl Smith, Niskanen Center
  • Michael Strain, American Enterprise Institute
  • David Wessel, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy

More information on US 2050 can be found at

About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America's future, and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. For more information, please visit:

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