We live in an aging Connecticut, and that’s a dramatic change here to stay.
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 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, policies and budgets as they increasingly outlive their financial resources, despite working longer.
Can Connecticut meet the needs of its changing demographics? And will we leverage the opportunities that come with ever-increasing numbers of older adults looking for ways to contribute their skills, talents and experience?
We’re Getting Older, Town by Town
These maps show the percentage of people age 65 and older in each Connecticut town, beginning in the year 2010 showing changes in five-year increments. By 2025, older adults will comprise at least 20% of the population of almost every town in Connecticut.
Who are those two beige outliers in 2025, remaining at less than 13%? They’re Mansfield and New Haven, home to Connecticut’s two flagship universities (University of Connecticut and Yale University, respectively), with large transient student populations, partially masking the growth of the older adult population.
It Didn’t Happen Overnight
Connecticut’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 also longer-lived. Though life expectancy for women continues to exceed that for men, on average, the different in life expectancy between women and men is projected to decrease moving forward.
In Connecticut, a person born today can expect to live an average of 80.8 years, the 3rd highest life expectancy in the nation. However, there are significant disparities in life expectancy between racial and ethic 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%, but its population of people age 20 to 64 is projected to grow less than 2%. Overwhelmingly, these growing numbers of older adults want to stay in their communities and have choice, independence and dignity. To make it happen, we need age-diverse communities that support Connecticut residents across the lifespan.
As a nonpartisan public policy office at the Connecticut General Assembly, we at the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors help prepare the state and communities for broad-scale societal transformation that will result from a longer-lived, rapidly growing population of older adults. The aging of Connecticut is an issue that affects us all – it’s our grandparents, our parents, ourselves.
A special thank you to the CT Data Collaborative for the data used above.