Changing Demographics

The elder population is growing exponentially, and becoming increasingly diverse. In the coming years, older adults will shift the balance of population majorities and minorities, altering demographics for years to come. The number of people age 65 and older is expected to double over the next 30 years. By 2050, it is expected to reach 80 million people. Today, one in five older adults is Latino or non-White. By 2030, this number is projected to be almost one in three. Over the next 40 years, AAPI elders will have the largest relative population growth among all elders. And, LGBT baby boomers now reaching retirement age are the first “out” generation of elders in our history. By 2030, the number of LGBT older adults will double to more than 4 million.

Given these changing demographics and the baby boomer explosion, the cost to the nation of not addressing the economic condition of diverse older adults may in the end be higher than it would to actually address this issue in some way. For example, in the healthcare arena, uninsured or under-insured older adults more frequently visit the emergency room, driving up healthcare costs for everyone. Without community supports to help older adults transition from the hospital back into communities, more elders end up re-hospitalized.

Demographics, of course, can also influence votes. If mobilized in communities across America, older adults and diverse elders in particular have the potential to shift the balance of political power in the United States to protect, expand, and increase access to public policies that directly affect their economic well-being: Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Senior Community Service Employment Program, and other critical programs.

This excerpt is taken from Securing Our Future: Advancing Economic Security for Diverse Elders, by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Read the full report >>