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States with the most seniors

  • States with the most seniors

    Just 10 years from now, seniors will comprise more than 20% of U.S. residents, up from 15% in 2020. By 2034,  older adults will outnumber children, according to Census Bureau projections. To learn more about senior populations, Stacker mined data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey estimates and ranked all 50 states and Washington D.C.based on the percentage of their populations is age 65 and older.

    Across the U.S., 52 million Americans are 65 years or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and a quarter of them live in just three states: California, Florida, and Texas. By comparison, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and Alaska each have fewer than 150,000 senior residents. The size of a state’s senior population means a lot in terms of demand for resources like health care, affordable housing, assisted living, in-home and nursing care, and support services, and the quality and availability of those resources help determine where seniors migrate.

    With baby boomers moving into old age, fewer babies being born, and longer life expectancies, the senior population of America is on a spectacular rise. The lengthening of the U.S. life expectancy has been particularly dramatic, rising to nearly 79 years from 68 years in 1950.

    States that lure seniors tend to have beautiful weather low or no taxes, a low cost of living, and access to top-quality medical facilities. It's no surprise then that as a share of the population, the states of Florida and Maine are bursting with seniors: Nearly one in five residents are age 65 or older, followed by West Virginia, Vermont, and Montana. Less welcoming are states that tax retirement income, including Social Security, and have high-priced housing and steep property taxes, not to mention cold winters.

    Keep reading to find out which states are home to the most seniors.

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  • #51. Utah

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 320,269 (10.5% of state population, 31.1% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 46.2% male, 53.8% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 190,544 (6.3% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 94,676 (3.1% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 35,049 (1.2% of state population)

    Utah’s population is the youngest in the country, a fact that experts pin to the dominance of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Church members put a high value on having many children and tend to have large families. But the state’s over-65 population is expected to double by 2065 as its booming population ages.

  • #50. Alaska

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 78,428 (10.6% of state population, 30.5% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 49.6% male, 50.4% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 53,366 (7.2% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 18,815 (2.5% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 6,247 (0.8% of state population)

    Cold weather aside, Alaska is an expensive state for growing old. In 2019 the state ended a $20.8 million senior benefits program that had provided monthly supplementary checks to residents over 65 of low and moderate incomes, and access to affordable health care is less than in many other states. The costs of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are among the highest in the country, and the cost of in-home care puts Alaska among the five most expensive states, with the average cost last year of a home health aide at about $69,000.

  • #49. Washington D.C.

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 81,712 (11.9% of state population, 22.0% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 40.8% male, 59.2% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 46,920 (6.9% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 23,836 (3.5% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 10,956 (1.6% of state population)

    Young people tend to move to the nation’s capital for school and job opportunities, so the city’s population is youthful. According to District government data, its typical senior is a Black woman, age 73, living on a retirement income—usually Social Security or a pension. The average cost of assisted living last year in Washington was more than $9,000 a month, more than twice the national average of $4,000.

  • #48. Texas

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 3.3 million (12% of state population, 21.3% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 44.5% male, 55.5% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 2.0 million (7.2% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 971,168 (3.5% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 365,931 (1.3% of state population)

    Texas draws significant domestic and international migration, particularly from Latin America, mostly for its oil and gas job market, so its population skews young. The state has qualities that make senior living comfortable, like low taxes, a low cost of living, and mild winters. But home health care is hard to find in parts of the state, and Texas may not seem too welcoming to the elderly. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made headlines with his controversial comments that “lots of grandparents” would be willing to sacrifice their lives to save their economy in the pandemic for younger people.

  • #47. Georgia

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 1.4 million (13.1% of state population, 14.1% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 43.4% male, 56.6% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 835,224 (8.1% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 383,686 (3.7% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 133,379 (1.3% of state population)

    Senior care got a recent boost when the governor signed a new law improving standards, licensing, and certification requirements in assisted living facilities, following a media exposé of neglect and abuse in senior care homes. But one in 10 seniors in Georgia lives in poverty, and the state scores below most others in terms of the quality of long-term care available.

     

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  • #46. Colorado

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 740,638 (13.4% of state population, 12.1% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 455,831 (8.2% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 201,744 (3.6% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 83,063 (1.5% of state population)

    Colorado was ranked the healthiest state in the country for seniors, based on factors such as physical activity, chronic conditions, obesity, and preventable hospitalizations. It also gets high scores for its nursing home and Medicare quality, and it ranks among the best states for active senior lifestyles. Agewise, its population reflects a lot of young people moving to the state for jobs, especially in outdoor recreation.

  • #45. California

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 5.3 million (13.6% of state population, 10.8% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 44.4% male, 55.6% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 3.1 million (7.8% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 1.6 million (4% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 701,570 (1.8% of state population)

    The senior population in California is dwarfed by the numbers of young people, particularly Latin American immigrants, who move to the state for jobs. Seniors in California are generally healthier and live longer than they do in other states, and it has plenty of home healthcare workers. But the costs of nursing home care, home nursing and assisted living are among the nation’s highest.

  • #44. Louisiana

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 676,707 (14.5% of state population, 4.9% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 43.7% male, 56.3% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 402,615 (8.6% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 198,533 (4.3% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 75,559 (1.6% of state population)

    Louisiana is not an easy place to be a senior. It ranks among the worst states in terms of older people suffering food insecurity—lacking access to enough food—and its senior population has high rates of early death, poverty, social isolation, and people who avoid seeking care due to cost. Life expectancy is among the shortest in all the states.

  • #43. North Dakota

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 109,910 (14.6% of state population, 4.3% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 45.4% male, 54.6% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 58,728 (7.8% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 33,322 (4.4% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 17,860 (2.4% of state population)

    North Dakota is marked by a lack of geriatricians— doctors who specialize in health care for the elderly. Ten percent of its senior population lives in poverty, and a third of them get food stamps. North Dakota was the only state in which the median age dropped between 2010 and 2019, from 37 to to 35.3 years old. Because much of the state is rural, its seniors tend to live far from health care and senior services.

  • #42. Maryland

    - State senior population (age 65 and older): 875,337 (14.6% of state population, 4.3% below national average)
    - Gender demographics: 43.2% male, 56.8% female
    - Age demographics:
    --- Seniors aged 65 to 74: 513,610 (8.6% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 75 to 84: 253,229 (4.2% of state population)
    --- Seniors aged 85 and older: 108,498 (1.8% of state population)

    Maryland’s older population is concentrated in Baltimore County, where an estimated one in four residents is a senior citizen. But the area suffers from a lack of low-cost housing for seniors and transportation for people who do not drive. Last fall, it held its first “No Senior Eats Alone" day to publicize the health risks to the elderly of social isolation.

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