How Many People Pay F.I.C.A.?

People often ask how many people are currently contributing to the Social Security system by paying the FICA tax.

Social Security reaches almost every family, and at some
point, touches the lives of nearly all Americans.
Social Security helps older Americans, workers who
become disabled, and families in which a spouse or
parent dies. In 2017, about 173 million people work and
pay Social Security taxes and about 59 million people
receive monthly Social Security benefits.
Most of our beneficiaries are retirees and their families —about 42 million people.

Social Security’s Demographic Challenge

The 2016 Trustees Report projects that the number of retired workers will grow rapidly, as members of the post–World War II baby boom continue to retire in increasing numbers. The number of retired workers is projected to double in about 50 years. People are also living longer, and the birth rate is low. As a result, the Trustees project that the ratio of 2.8 workers paying Social Security taxes to each person collecting benefits in 2015 will fall to 2.1 to 1 in 2037. In 2010, tax and other noninterest income did not fully cover program cost, and the 2016 Trustees Report projects that this pattern will continue for at least 75 years if no changes are made to the program.

In 2017, the Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as projected last year, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2028, extended from last year’s estimate of 2023, with 93 percent of benefits still payable.

You can find more Trust Fund information here in the 2017 Trustees Report: