'Silver tsunami' presents opportunities, report suggests

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'Silver tsunami' presents opportunities, report suggests
'Silver tsunami' presents opportunities, report suggests

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging puts some numbers behind trends related to the increasing population of U.S. older adults, sometimes referred to as the “silver tsunami,” and suggests opportunities for providers of seniors housing and care.

The population of those aged 85 or more years is projected to triple from 6.3 million in 2015 to 14.6 million in 2040, according to the Profile of Older Americans, released Wednesday. That age group represented more than 52% of assisted living residents in 2014, according to a 2016 report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Additionally, according to the new report, the population of those aged 65 or more years, at 47.8 million in 2015, is expected to more than double to 98 million in 2060. (Those aged 65 to 74 represented 10.4% of assisted living residents in 2014, and those aged 75 to 84 represented 29.9%, according to the NCHS. Americans who reach the age of 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.4 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

The report also suggests a large untapped population for senior living. Only 3.1% (1.5 million) of those aged 65 or more years live in institutional settings.

What markets might senior living operators be most likely to find potential residents?

In 2015, according to the report, 54% of people aged 65 or more lived in 10 states: California (5.2 million), Florida (3.9 million), Texas (3.2 million), New York  (3 million), Pennsylvania (2.2 million), Ohio (1.8 million), Illinois (1.8 million), Michigan (1.6 million), North Carolina (1.5 million) and New Jersey (1.3 million). Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington each also had well over 1 million people.

People aged 65 or more years constituted approximately 18% or more of the total population in three states in 2015: Florida (19.4%), Maine (18.8%) and West Virginia (18.2%). In five states, the 65+ population increased by 50% or more between 2005 and 2015: Alaska (63%), Nevada (55%), Colorado (54%), Georgia (50%) and South Carolina (50%).

Affordable housing developers may be interested to know that the 10 jurisdictions with poverty rates greater than 10% for older adults during 2015 were the District of Columbia (15.2%), Louisiana (12.8%), Mississippi (12.5%), Kentucky (11.2%), New York (11.2%), New Mexico (11.1%), Arkansas (10.3%), Florida (10.3%), Rhode Island (10.3%) and Texas (10.3%).

The report suggests that marketing to prospective residents who live near a community may be most effective for senior living operators. Sixty-two percent of older adults who moved from 2015 to 2016 stayed in the same county, and 22% remained in the same state but in a different county. Only 16% moved out of state or abroad.

The annual Profile of Older Americans is a summary of the latest statistics on the older population and covers 15 topical areas, including population, income and poverty, living arrangements, education, health and caregiving. Data mainly are derived from the U.S. Census Bureau, the NCHS and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The profile incorporates the latest data available.

The 2016 edition is only available online.

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