PERSPECTIVE: Living in an Aging Connecticut

In Connecticut, a person born today can expect to live an average of 80.8 years, the third highest life expectancy in the nation. However, there are significant disparities in life expectancy between racial and ethnic groups.  Life expectancy is 89.1 years for Asian Americans; 83.1 years for Latinos; 81.0 years for Whites, and 77.8 years for African Americans.

Between 2010 and 2040, Connecticut’s population of people age 65 and older is projected to grow by 57 percent, but its population of people age 20 to 64 is projected to grow by less than 2 percent.CT perspective

We live in an aging Connecticut.  More than one-third of Connecticut’s population is over the age of 50, and that proportion continues to rise.  Nearly every facet of our society will be impacted.

Increasing numbers of older adults will play pivotal roles, both as caregivers and as recipients of care in both families of origin and of choice.  They will prompt municipal and state leaders and their partners to ensure that communities have the features, services and funds to support aging in place.  And they will challenge our state’s creativity, polities and budgets as they increasingly outlive their financial resources, despite working longer.

q1Connecticut’s demographic transformation has been spurred by medical, social and economic advances.  And it has been buoyed by baby boomers, people born between the years 1946 and 1964, who were part of the noticeable increase in birth rate post-World War II.

At every stage, baby boomers have been changing this country, and now is no exception.  Not only are their sheer numbers larger than any other previous generation, but they are also longer-lived.

Overwhelmingly, these growing numbers of older adults what to stay in their communities and to have choice, independence and dignity.  By 2025, older adults will comprise at least 20 percent of the population of almost every town in Connecticut.

This perspective first appeared on the website of the now-defunct Connecticut Legislative Commission on Aging, with research and data analysis in conjunction with the Connecticut Data Collaborative.