We are experiencing a rapid boom in the population of those 65 and older in Minnesota.
According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, the number of Minnesotans turning 65 in this decade (about 285,000) will be greater than the past four decades combined. By 2030, more than one in four Minnesota adults will be seniors.
So why is this dramatic demographic shift happening now? From generation to generation, the number of babies born changes based on both the number of child-bearing women and the number of children women have. The parents of baby boomers were a unique generation both in terms of the number of child-bearing families and the number of children each family had. Their children, the baby boomers, are now reaching retirement. And baby boomers have the longest life expectancy in the history of our country. All this means our senior population is growing rapidly.
Even after the baby boomer bubble passes, our country will remain a fundamentally older society. In the U.S., birthrates per women of childbearing age are expected to stay the same or decline, while an increasing number of people will live into their 70s, 80s and 90s for as long as can be reasonably projected.
For at least the next 15 years, the number of adults under 65 and children will stay relatively stable in Minnesota, meaning that the younger demographic is not growing enough to offset the senior population growth in most Minnesota counties. Births in Minnesota peaked at over 73,000 in 2007 and have not returned to that number since. In addition, 24% of all babies born in 2015 were residents of Hennepin County, pointing to faster growth in the senior population in Greater Minnesota. Around 2020, Minnesota’s 65+ population is expected to eclipse the population of school-age children for the first time in history.
As baby boomers retire, the demand for caregivers and aging services will continue to grow. Minnesota is already experiencing an increased need for senior care and support services. Now is the time for our state’s families, communities and lawmakers to work together to ensure we have the professional caregivers, care facilities and support services our seniors need.
Find out more about these demographic changes by visiting our interactive Minnesota population map.