Over 575,000 Connecticut residents are age 65 and older, making up an estimated 16 percent of the state’s total population of 3.6 million, according to U.S. Census data updated through 2016. Those numbers are expected to grow – steadily and rapidly – during the next two decades, experts anticipate. Among Connecticut’s eight counties, the largest percentage of seniors is in Litchfield County, 19.7 percent, followed by Middlesex County, 18.8 percent, and New London County, 17.1 percent. New Haven (16.3%) and Hartford (16.2%) counties are next, followed by Fairfield and Tolland Counties, both at 14.8 percent.
The data, highlighted by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research (OLR) in a recent report, also shows that “Connecticut’s senior population is less ethnically and racially diverse than the state as a whole.”
Just over 89 percent of the state’s seniors (age 65+) are white, compared with 77 percent of the state’s population as a whole. While 10 percent of the state’s population are Black or African American, that is true of only 6.4 percent of seniors. The state’s Asian population is 4.2 percent of the total; among seniors, less than half that, only 2 percent, are of Asian heritage.
While the total state population is almost evenly split between male (49%) and female (51%) residents, the senior population has a larger percentage of females (57%) compared to males (43%), the analysis found. Connecticut seniors are more likely to be veterans (20% vs. 7% of all residents) and more likely to have a disability (32% vs. 11% of residents).
According to a recent report by the state’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, Connecticut is the 7th oldest state in the nation. Roughly one-third of the state’s population are baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. The state also has nearly 1,000 people over the age of 100. As has been previously projected, the number of Connecticut towns with at least 20 percent of residents age 65 or older will dramatically increase between 2010 and 2020 (see maps below). The 65 and older population is expected to grow by 56 percent in Connecticut between 2010 and 2040, compared with 1.5 percent growth in the population between ages 20 and 64.
Approximately 7 percent of Connecticut seniors had incomes which fell below the census poverty level, with an additional 8 percent of seniors having incomes between 100 percent to 149 percent of the threshold, the OLR report indicated. The most common source of income for Connecticut seniors is Social Security, with an average benefit of $20,591 per year, as of 2015. An estimated 90 percent of senior homeowners and renters receive Social Security benefits. The second most common source (50.7%) is personal retirement income, averaging $27,240 per year in 2015.
Of the more than 330,000 senior households, an estimated 76 percent are homeowners and 24 percent are renters. This represents higher home ownership rates than the state as a whole (67% of 1.35 million households).
The most common source of income for Connecticut seniors, the report indicated, is Social Security, with an average benefit of $20,591 per year in 2015. An estimated 90 percent of senior homeowners and renters receive Social Security benefits. The second most common source (50.7%) is personal retirement income, averaging $27,240 per year in 2015.
The demographic characteristics of Connecticut’s senior population (e.g. residents age 65 years and older) used by OLR were largely based on the 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.