Hot Docs: An Aging Nation, Rising Foreclosures, Changing Driving Habits, and More

Today's selection of timely reports.

+ More

An Older and More Diverse Nation by Midcentury: According to Census Bureau projections, the United States will look much grayer in the coming decades. The aging of the Baby Boom generation will have such a major impact that by 2030, an estimated 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older. The number of people 85 and older could triple by the middle of the century. Also, members of racial and ethnic minority groups will likely become the majority by about 2042.

Foreclosure activity increases 8 percent in July: Real estate website RealtyTrac releases statistics that show home foreclosures rose in July. The company notes that 272,171 foreclosure notices went out that month—a 55 percent increase over July 2007. Nevada, California, and Florida are the states hardest hit by foreclosures.

Is the Cost of Gas Leading Americans to Use Alternative Transportation? The AARP polled adults over 50 to ask about transportation options in their communities. Responses reveal deep anxiety about current fuel prices. Two thirds said that they have cut back on driving, and 94 percent describe themselves as at least "somewhat concerned" about gas prices.

How Airport Security Could Work Better: Since 2002, the Transportation Security Administration has been conducting undercover tests of airport security screening procedures. This Government Accountability Office report describes how TSA testers perform covert "performance audits" of airport security systems to see if potential threats are flagged. The report does not divulge the results of such exercises, which are classified, but reveals that the testers' findings aren't always systematically reported and acted upon—though they should be.

Continuing Gaps in the Drug War: The GAO looks at how well the $950 million the United States has spent to prevent South American drug smuggling is working. The agency notes that international cooperation has improved but says that some nations in this "transit zone" lack the resources to support antismuggling operations adequately.