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Percent Change in Senior (65+) Population in Arizona

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This chart shows the 85+ population growing more rapidly than all older adults over the age of 65. In addition, there was an anomalous jump of 39% between 2005-2006 for the 85+ population. In 2030, when all of the baby boomers will be at least 65, nearly one in five U.S. residents is expected to be 65 and older. This age group is projected to increase to 88.5 million by 2050, more than doubling in number. Arizona reflects this trend. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007, La Paz County was the oldest county in the nation with 32% of its residents being 65 years of age and older.

Arizona's 65+ population is growing more than most other states. It is ranked #3 nationally for largest projected percentage increase in the 65+ population between 2000-2030 at a 255% growth. Similarly, the 85 and older population is expected to more than triple, from 5.4 million to 19 million between 2008 and 2050. The centenarian number is also expected to skyrocket, quadrupling by 2030 and reaching 1.15 million by 2050. A dependency ratio is an age/population formula of those typically not in the labor force (65 and older and those less than 16) and those typically in the labor force (ages 16-64). As the dependency ratio increases, it poses a threat to the sustainability of programs like Social Security, because as less people work there is less money paid into the system. Dependency ratios will be greater than the U.S. between 2010 and 2030 as projections are 64.8% in 2010 and 86.8% in 2030 compared to the U.S. ratios of 59% and 76.1%. In 2007, Arizona was ranked #2 in the country and by 2030, it is projected to be the 5th highest dependency state, which is a great cause for concern.