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Profile America — Thursday, August 14th. Keeping Social Security strong and solvent is a continuing concern in an increasingly aging America. The demographic profile was different on this date in 1935, when the program was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The program aimed to provide security to retired workers over 65, most of whom had no pension, and life expectancy at birth was just 60 years for males and 64 for females. The first monthly check under the system was for $22.54, issued in January 1940. Now, there are nearly 38 million retired workers receiving Social Security benefits averaging nearly $1,300 a month. Current life expectancy at birth is roughly 76 years for males and over 81 years for females, with the longest lifespans projected for Hispanics. Profile America is in its 17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, p. 55
http://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf p. 4