AARP sponsored a dynamite general session at the annual conference of the American Society on Aging. The session, "The Changing Face of America: Aging in our Multicultural Society," featured Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, AARP's EVP of Multicultural Markets and Engagement, Jennie Chin Hansen, Pres. and CEO of American Geriatrics Society and Immediate Past Pres. of AARP, Fernando Torres-Gil, Assoc. Dean of CA Los Angeles School of Public Affairs and AARP Board member, and Maya Rockeymoore, Pres. and CEO of Global Policy Solutions.
A few facts shared in the session:
- Non-hispanic whites will cease to be a majority in America, perhaps as soon as 2050.
- By mid-century, the nation's Hispanic population is expected to increase 188%
- By 2050 the nation's Asian population is expected to grow 213%
- In only 50 years the nation's black population is expected to grow 71%
As the multicultural fabric of America changes, we can certainly expect aging in America to change. The panel indicated:
- We've always been a nation of immigrants, but we've never had this extraordinary shift happening so quickly, so big and so profound within one or two generations-while at the same time the baby boomers are aging.
- An investment in our multicultural youth is wise, as they will be the caregivers of the future.
- If we embrace the multicultural aspects of our aging population we can enrich the experience of aging by drawing from the wealth of cultural experiences and knowledge.
- There are vast differences even within racial-ethnic groups. For example, within the Asian-American population there are 47 ethnic groups and 100 different languages.
- We must strengthen our public programs that shore up the retirement security for all citizens as they age - regardless of ethnicity or culture.
Bottom line: We're not just having an age wave - we're having a multicultural wave in this country and it will change the way all of us age.