washingtonpost.com  > Print Edition > Sunday Sections > Sunday Outlook > Articles Inside Outlook
Page 2 of 2  < Back  

By the Numbers

The percentage of Americans ages 19 to 28 who said, in the same poll, that the system won't be able to pay their benefits when they retire.


Pre-presidential message: Then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, on the campaign trail in May 2000, outlines his ideas for altering Social Security during a stop in Portland, Ore. (Eric Draper -- AP)

The year that Social Security payments will exceed the system's annual tax receipts, according to the middle of three SSA forecasts. The deficit would be made up by drawing down on the Social Security trust fund.


According to the same forecast, the year the Social Security trust fund will run dry.


Without changes, the percentage of promised benefits that the system will be able to pay once its trust fund is empty in 2042. Funds would come from ongoing tax receipts.


The percentage of projected benefits that Social Security would be able to pay in 2078 without any changes in the program.


The percentage of Americans, in 2002, who relied on Social Security for at least half their income.


The percentage of Americans, in 2002, whose sole income source came from Social Security.

$3.7 trillion

The anticipated shortfall in Social Security financing over the next 75 years if no changes are made.


The percentage point increase in current payroll tax rates needed to provide sufficient funds for the next 75 years.

For a detailed history of Social Security, go to www.ssa.gov/history/

< Back  1 2

© 2005 The Washington Post Company