US 2050 Conference Explores Trends that Will Shape America’s Future

Mar 22, 2019

Unique Research Project from Peterson Foundation and Ford Foundation Convenes Authors of 31 New Papers Exploring America’s Most Significant Long-Term Challenges

WASHINGTON, D.C. — US 2050, a milestone research initiative exploring the multiple demographic, economic, societal and fiscal trends shaping America, is convening leading scholars and experts at a conference this morning in Washington, D.C.

An initiative of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, US 2050 commissioned 31 papers covering a range of topics related to demographics, poverty, labor economics, macroeconomics, political science and sociology to develop a comprehensive view of the nation’s economic and fiscal future — and the implications for policymaking and the well-being of Americans.

This unique body of research offers multiple perspectives on the country’s most complex, intersecting long-term challenges, and provides key insights to help policymakers prepare for the future.

“America is a rapidly changing nation. By 2050, our country will be much older and more diverse, and a range of social, economic and technological transformations will shape how Americans live and work. We must ensure that our nation is prepared and on a sustainable path to meet these dynamic challenges,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “US 2050 helps us make sense of the complex trends underway, and provides important insights into the best policies to build a better future and quality of life for all Americans.”

“We must be thinking long-term about the serious challenges our nation faces today or we will not be in the position to provide the American dream to anyone, let alone be capable of taking care of our most vulnerable citizens, a critical function of the government,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “The time is now to be bold about the path we set for lessening inequality and that is why the work of US 2050 is so critical: It illustrates clearly that given the range of challenges we face, it won’t be an easy road, but we can indeed shape our future.”

In conjunction with the project, Pew Research Center released findings from a new survey on what Americans believe the U.S. will be like in 2050 – revealing public views on a range of issues including the economy, government, health care, environment, national security, inequality, work and more.

A distinguished Advisory Committee, coordinated by the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, guided the US 2050 research to assess many interrelated topics, including: labor force participation, education, poverty, immigration, fertility, health status, caregiving, family structure, retirement savings, and the future of Congress.

The US 2050 research helps to answer key questions impacting America’s collective future, including:

  • What will the future labor market look like?
  • How will immigration impact families and the economy?
  • How can America increase its economic productivity and improve outcomes for individuals in the future?
  • How will America’s political system respond to our demographic, economic and social transformation?
  • How can educational opportunity be expanded for individuals regardless of income, races and gender?
  • Who will care for the growing elderly population?
  • How will different generations fare in retirement?
  • Is the nation’s fertility decline a permanent change and what does that mean for our future?

In its first year, US 2050 provided $1.5 million in grant awards, funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The initiative will build upon this initial body of research with additional projects in the future.

Click here to read the US 2050 Research Summary prepared by David Wessel, Director of the Hutchins Center and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Click here to view the US 2050 papers.

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