A new study recently released by the Brookings Institution examines projected demographic patterns for the older segment of the country’s population, encompassing seniors (65 years and over) and baby boomers, or “pre-seniors” (age 55 to 64).
Based on U.S. Census data, “Mapping the Growth of Older America: Seniors and Boomers in the Early 21st Century,” by William H. Frey, provides an insightful discussion of the implications of the graying of America.
For example, the study suggests that new housing and cultural amenities will be necessary to support more affluent “yuppie senior” populations in areas like Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas and Atlanta – areas previously known for their younger residential base.
However in slower-growing metro areas in the Northeast and Midwest, the aging population will likely be comprised of seniors in a lower financial bracket and with greater health issues. These communities may need to provide greater social support, affordable housing options, and healthcare services.
The report analyzes how the aging of our country’s population is expected to affect migration trends, as well as the demographic characteristics of states, cities, and suburban communities.
Among its general findings:
“Pre-seniors” will be the fastest-growing segment of the population over the coming decade.
More seniors and pre-seniors move from cities to suburbs than the other way around. Therefore, the aging of the Baby Boomers is expected to mature the population of the suburbs of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles, making these areas “older” than their respective cities by the year 2040.
Economically vibrant cities in the Sun Belt, many previously known for their younger populations, are now experiencing rapid growth in their pre-senior populations.
States like Georgia, for example, with the fastest growing population of seniors will experience more growth from residents “aging in place” than migration.
Even with their low rate of growth in their senior populations, low immigration and past out-migration of younger residents are causing Northern states like Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Dakota to show some of the highest shares of senior population in the country.