U.S. population grows old, Pa. older & Franklin County even older

Written by Jim Hook, Public Opinion | Jun 29, 2015 3:25 PM
Thumbnail image for elderly.jpg

HARRISBURG >> The age structure of Franklin County's population is growing older faster than Pennsylvania's.

And Pennsylvania's overall population is aging more rapidly than the nation's.

One-in-six Franklin County and Pennsylvania residents are aged 65 years and over.

Franklin County's population over the age of 65 years grew by 12.7 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to the 2014 Detailed State and County Population Estimates released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau. Pennsylvania's retirement-aged population grew by 8.9 percent.

In just four years, the Pennsylvania population aged 65 years and over has outpaced the state's overall population growth (0.7 percent). The population aged 65 years and over has grown by 175,103 people -- more than twice that of the total population.

Pennsylvania ranked sixth among the states in 2014 in the percent of the population aged 65-plus.

Here's the percentage of retirement-aged residents -- 18.2 percent of Franklin County's population, 16.7 percent of the Pennsylvania's and 14.5 percent of the U.S.

Franklin County (pop. 152,892) had 27,810 people 65 years and older, 3,991 of them 85 years and older.

The primary driver of the change has been the aging of the largest generational cohort, the Baby Boomers. The leading edge of the more than 3.3 million Pennsylvanians born between 1946 and 1964 have reached their golden years. In 2014, the state's Boomers accounted for more than a quarter (26.4 percent) of the state's residents.

On the other end of the age scale, Pennsylvania's next largest generational cohort - the Millennials (ages 18 to 34 years) - included some 2.8 million-plus residents and accounted for 22.4 percent of the population in 2014.

Pennsylvania's ratio of 1.18 of Boomers to Millenials ranked ninth nationally, signifying a notable difference between the two generations in comparison to other states. A ratio of 1.00 would indicate an equal number of Boomers and Millennials in the population. Maine (1.50), New Hampshire (1.36) and West Virginia (1.32) had the highest Boomer-to-Millennial ratios while Utah (0.69), North Dakota (0.86) and Texas (0.87) had the lowest ratios in 2014. 

Franklin County had a Boomer-to-Millennial ratio of less than 1.50. Cameron County (2.13) led all counties. As a general geographic pattern, counties along the northern tier and the laurel highlands had the highest ratios. 

Only six Pennsylvania counties had more Millennials than Boomers (Boomer-to-Millennial ratios below 1.00). For the most part, this is the result of being home to a significant number of colleges and university students, according to the Pennsylvania State Data Center.

The Detailed State and County Population Estimates are calculated using administrative records to estimate components of population change, such as births, deaths, domestic and international migration.

Jim Hook can be reached at 717-262-4759.

This article comes to us through a partnership between Public Opinion and WITF.

Published in News

Tagged under , , , , ,

back to top