This may be old news to you, but the U.S. population is aging and is expected to continue to do so. The Census Bureau currently projects that by 2035 older people will outnumber younger people for the first time in U.S. history. In that year, it is estimated that 78 million U.S. residents will be 65 years or older compared to the 76.4 million who will be under 18 years of age. The implications of this demographic shift are profound. While the number of births in 2030 are expected to be four times the number of people added through net migration into the U.S., the number of deaths will offset births and lower the (net)natural increase. As such, immigration is projected to be the primary driver of population growth. As a result, population growth in the U.S. is likely to slow significantly between 2020 and 2050, putting pressure on services and increasing costs associated with an aging population– at the same time as the proportion of working age people is expected to decrease.
Whereas the charts above show a slice in time for all age groups, the tabbed charts below show change for the 65+ population over time. These charts are also broken out by race and ethnicity to better understand the growth trends for these different demographic groups in the Atlanta Metro region. The current majority of the 65+ population in the region is white, but the growth picture is a bit more complex. For example, in 2016, the were an estimated 669,076 people 65 years and over living in the metro region, of which 69.3% were white and 24.9% were black. However, of the estimated 311,742 people added to the 65+ age group since 2005, 60.6% were white and 31.8% were black. In short, just as the country and region are becoming increasingly diverse, so to is the aging population. Differences in aging service and support needs often vary across demographic lines, so the shift in the makeup of this age group has definite policy and planning implications for our region. To address these aging-specific needs in the Atlanta Metro region, the ARC’s Aging and Independent Services group created Empowerline, a service that aids seniors in navigating the region’s 26,000-plus community-based health and mobility service providers.
*Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta MSA for 2005 to 2012 and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell MSA for 2013 to 2016
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 1-year estimates, 2005 to 2016