As all of us know, painfully and personally, World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the global coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to Coronavirus Resource Center at John’s Hopkins University, COVID-19 cases exceed 300,000 worldwide and the numbers keep growing exponentially. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as a reminder, is a contagious disease that causes respiratory issues and flu-like symptoms among many of the infected. Rarely, yet all too often, coronavirus results in severe respiratory distress and even death in those with serious underlying conditions, who most often are older adults (as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of note are other risk factors including asthma, diabetes, obesity, and immuno-compromise, but we focus below –via maps and interactive tools-on the distribution of the state’s older adult population at the tract level. The data are from the 2014-2018 5-year Census American Community Survey (ACS) estimates.

# of Older Adult Population (65+), Census Tract Level

About 20 percent of census tracts in Georgia (398 out of 1,969 census tracts) have more than 1,000 people aged 65 years and above. About 17 census tracts have more than 2,000 such seniors; these census tracts are located in Chatham, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Pickens, and Spalding County.

The second layer shows the distribution of the population age 85 years and above. Only three census tracts out of 1,969 tracts have more than 500 people who are 85 years old and above;  they are located in Cobb and Fulton County. The census tract with the largest percentage share of the population age 85+ has 650 seniors.

Source: Census ACS, 2014-2018

% Older Adult Population, Census Tracts

In addition to the raw count of older adults, it is also important to look at the percentage share of total population, represented by those aged 65 and over, for each Census Tract. Why?  For example, having 1,000 seniors in a Census Tract with a total population of 2,000 indicates a much higher concentration of those more likely to get coronavirus than a tract with the same number of seniors but a total population of 10,000.

Below, we’re looking at how percentage shares of 65+ are distributed across Georgia. The range of the percentage share is dramatically varied, between 0 percent to 90.5 percent. Census Tract 37 in Fulton County has the highest percent share of the age-65-years-and-over population, at 90.5 percent. Among 148 residents in the census tract, 134 are age 65 or older. Census Tract 110.06 in Chatham County has the second-highest percent share at 54.4 percent, and among 4,169 total residents, 2,266 are age 65 or over. The median age of Tract 110.06 is the highest in the state, at 72; the second-highest is in teh aforementioned Tract 37 in Fulton County, at 67 years.

On the map, please turn on the second layer option to see the percent share of the age-85-years-and-over population. Census Tract 101.21 in Fulton County has the highest percentage share of that 85+ population, at 12.1 percent.

Source: Census ACS, 2014-2018