We invest a lot of time in understanding and responding to the needs of the metro’s older adults, and for good reason: By 2030, ARC expects one in four Atlantans to be over the age of 60, and a few years ago, Forbes named us one of the country’s fastest-aging cities. Planning that supports the needs of older adults today and into the future creates communities that better support people of all ages and abilities.

Previously, we took a look at poverty among those age 65 and older and showed that generally it’s been on a steady decrease since 1990. This post considers where our older residents live and and how they feel about life in the metro.

Where do our residents age 65+ live?

In ARC’s 20-county area, 11 percent of residents are age 65 and older. From the county-level perspective, Spalding and Fayette come in at the top for the most older residents, with both having nearly 17 percent of their population age 65 and older. Clayton County sees the fewest, with just over 8 percent of its population age 65 or older. The Census tract with the highest estimated rate of older residents is Fulton County Census tract 95.01, in North Atlanta, where about 36 percent of residents are age 65 and older.

The map below shows the percent of residents age 65+ by county and tract. With all maps in the blog, you can zoom in or out using your mouse or the + or – signs in the upper left of the map, or find your own location or address. Use the swipe bar to get an idea of how the rate of older residents varies at the tract level within counties. You can click on any county or tract to learn more about the age distribution in that area. You can also minimize the legend using the arrow symbols if you want more space to see the map.

Poverty rates in the 20-county area’s older adults

The next map shows the percent of our residents age 65 and older who are living in poverty at both the county and tract levels. It functions the same as the previous map.

In the 20-county metro area seen below, an estimated 8.8 percent of adults age 65 and older live in poverty. As the map shows, however, the area sees some significant county-level variation, with Bartow County seeing the highest estimated rate of older residents living in poverty, at 12.10 percent, and Fayette County seeing the fewest older adults living in poverty, at just under 5 percent. From a tract perspective, the view gets more complex. For instance, Cobb County tract 304.14 has the highest rate of older adults living below poverty, at nearly 78 percent — but this is coming from a population of just a few dozen people. This is one reason why some data, especially when it considers smaller populations, is best viewed at the county level.

Disability among the 20-county area’s older adults

The final map offers an idea of what areas see higher rates of disabled older adults. While the 20-county area has a disability rate of nearly 10 percent, this is heavily influenced by age: About a third of residents age 65 and older have a disability. The map below shows the county- and tract-level variation and has the same interactive functionality as the previous maps. It shows that Newton County sees the highest rates of older adults with a disability, at nearly 43 percent, and Forsyth County sees the lowest, at about 28 percent. The tract level view on this map offers an impression of where higher concentrations of disabled older adults might live, but it has similar challenges as the map exploring poverty rates: In areas where you see very high shares of older adults living with a disability, you’re also seeing very low numbers of people in this age category.

How are they feeling about life in the metro?

Given the different abilities of this group, it should come as no surprise that they have different views on life in Atlanta than younger groups. According to the 2018 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, metro residents age 65 and older:

  1. Are more likely to say crime is the biggest issue facing the metro
  2. Are more likely to lack the transportation to get where they need to go  (though the majority of this group doesn’t experience this issue)
  3. Are more likely to say that people are willing to help their neighbors

Want to know more about aging in the metro? Check out our blog about age-friendly communities here, and learn more about the issues that affect us as we age through ARC’s EmpowerLine Forums.