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Social Security Recipients Age 65 or Older, Percent Change

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Visualization Notes:

Changes in the number of those 65 or older receiving Social Security are related in large part to changes in the number of births 65 years earlier, though the aging of immigrants into this age group and the number of deaths also are factors. Nationally and in Arizona, the increases in the number of recipients in the old-age Social Security program have accelerated over the last several years, corresponding to increases in the number of births at the end of the Great Depression. The number of Social Security recipients should rise more rapidly in coming years as the baby-boom generation begins to become eligible for the old-age portion of the program.

The greater growth rates in Arizona than nationally reflect the faster overall growth of the state’s population — subtracting the growth rate of the overall population from the growth rate of old-age Social Security recipients results in a figure equal in Arizona to the national average since 2000. The fastest growth in the old-age Social Security population relative to the overall growth rate has been in counties — Apache and Navajo — that have not had a sizable elderly population. Though Pinal County’s percent change in old-age Social Security recipients has been the fastest in the state, Pinal is the only county in which the Social Security population has increased by less than the overall population.