Milken Institute Report Calls on Business Leaders to Capitalize on the Opportunities of an Aging Population

Press Release

Milken Institute Report Calls on Business Leaders to Capitalize on the Opportunities of an Aging Population

LOS ANGELES, February 22, 2018 – Opportunities presented by an aging population will not be fully realized unless business leaders act to prepare for this irreversible shift in demography, according to a new report released by the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

The report, “Silver to Gold: The Business of Aging,” includes data and insights from multiple sources and identifies opportunities, innovations, human capital strategies, and forward-looking policies and practices to realize the upside of aging. The report includes commentary from participants at the 2017 Summit on Business and the Future of Aging, which brought together thought leaders from academia, media, business, health, public policy, and the nonprofit sector. The summit was convened in collaboration with the M Center of Excellence at The American College of Financial Services. 

“Population aging across the globe presents a great 21st-century challenge,” explains Paul Irving, chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, distinguished scholar in residence at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and principal author of the report. “But the news is not all bad. In fact, the aging population may represent the world's most compelling business opportunity. As “Silver to Gold” reveals, older adults represent a massive and growing human capital resource and an attractive consumer market for innovative products and services.”

The report offers thoughtful, fact-filled assessments of the growing economic power of older adults, the underutilized resource of mature workers, advances that can dramatically extend lifespan, health and productivity, and a call to action. Among the highlights shared:

  • By the end of this decade, annual consumer spending by age 60-and-over adults globally will reach $15 trillion (Bank of America Merrill Lynch)
  • Americans over 50 account for $7.6 trillion in direct spending and related economic activity (Oxford Economics/AARP)
  • Older adults in the U.S. dominate 119 out of 123 consumer packaged-goods categories (Bank of America Merrill Lynch)
  • More Americans 65 and older are working than at any time since the turn of the century and spending more time on the job than did their peers in earlier years(Transamerica Institute)
  • The proportion of people in the working-age population worldwide who are 50 or older will grow from 20 percent in 2010 to 30 percent by 2050(The Boston Consulting Group)
  • Older workers in the U.S. have similar or lower injury and illness rates than younger counterparts (CDC)
  • Fewer than half of companies worldwide factor longevity into their strategic planning (The Economist)

“In a world torn by policy and political divides, the leadership mantle is increasingly defaulting to the business community,” the report concludes. “Corporate leaders can speak out and advocate for the interests of older employees and customers, calling their colleagues and peers to action. It is time for 21st-century businesses to confront stereotypes that veil the market and human capital opportunities of population aging. They must embrace the promise and possibilities of a new mature world, align policies and practices with the interests of demographically changing customers and employees, and become advocates for public health and financial security.”

In 2018, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging will launch a new Business Council to mobilize efforts and address opportunities presented by population aging. The council, composed of senior executives in major national and multi-national companies, will develop shared principles, elevate best practices, and advance commitments across sectors to improve the lives of the current generation of older adults and of generations to come.

“Although ageist and outdated policies and practices can impede progress, there is hope,” says Peter Mullin, chairman of the M Center of Excellence. “That hope comes from enlightened businesses ready to reach for the opportunities of a new age. By realizing the potential of older adults, they will serve the interests of all their stakeholders and create a better future. As the M Center works to develop financial solutions that enhance security and wellbeing for longer lives, we are delighted to support the establishment of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging Business Council.” 

“Silver to Gold” will be shared with business leaders worldwide, as well as policymakers, academics, philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, and others as the Center for the Future of Aging promotes multi-sector collaboration and engagement to improve lives, strengthen communities and nations, and grow economies for an era of longevity-powered prosperity. 

The report, along with “The Business of Aging”—an essay series published in collaboration with PBS Next Avenue and Forbes—is available online at


About the Center for the Future of Aging

The mission of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging is to improve lives and strengthen societies by promoting healthy, productive, and purposeful aging. For more information, visit


Published April 8, 2019