Remember that old joke about why men die sooner than women? Because they want to!
OK, maybe it’s not politically correct, but it does reflect a reality in human demographics – the study of humans and charting us by categories such as age, race, religion, and education.
I received an update on the status of Connecticut’s elderly from the state Commission on Aging over the holidays that is quite revealing in many ways, starting with the fact that statewide the population is getting older quickly. More to the point we are older on average than the population of most other states, and women do indeed outlive men.
As of the 2010 census Connecticut had 506,559 people aged 65 and older out of a population of 3,574,097, which amounts to 14.2 percent of the population, compared to 13 percent nationally.
Connecticut ranks 7th for median age – 40, compared to a national median age of 37.2. Additionally, 2.4 percent of the state’s population is aged 85 and older, one of the highest rates in the nation which has an average of 1.8 percent
Connecticut had 930 centenarians – people aged 100 and over according to the 2010 census, and one super-centenarian, aged over 110!
If the current statistics don’t succeed in showing where we’re going, it also is noteworthy that 26.9 percent of Connecticut’s population – 960,000 people – are Baby Boomers, people born between 1946-1964 and they will turn 65 in the next 18 years.
Now here’s where we get into the gender issues. Connecticut’s population of people aged 65 and older is 58 percent female, which means 42 percent are male.
As we continue up the age ladder to those aged 85 years and over, nearly 70 percent of the population is female, meaning the male segment drops down to 30 percent.
By the time we get to the centenarians in Connecticut 85 percent are female and the guys are hopelessly outnumbered, although if they value female companionship they don’t have to look very far for friendship.
Demographics also chart where people live and in the eight Connecticut counties, Litchfield has the highest percentage of people aged 65 and over – 16 percent of that county’s population, and Tolland has the lowest at 11.9 percent.
In Connecticut’s five largest cities, Stamford at 13.1 percent has the highest percentage of people aged 65 and over and Hartford at 8.9 percent has the lowest.
While CT’s total population grew by 4.9% from 2000 to 2010, its population of older adults grew more quickly: Residents aged 65 and over grew by 7.7 percent; and, remarkably the fastest growing segment of the population was those aged 85 and over, which grew by 32 percent!
There is much to make of these trends, primarily that the older the population, the more care it will need and the more expenses for that care will grow. Even with ongoing efforts to keep as many elderly as possible out of institutionalized care, which now costs about $12,000 per month and up, the number of people who will reside in some form of assisted living will increase sharply in the coming years.
The impact on state and federal budgets will be enormous, and it is plain to see that community and home based care will be the saviors not only of our financial security, but of the quality of life for many elderly residents too.
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