Projections of the Future Size and Percentage of Older Adults from Diverse Populations

As the Baby Boom cohort continues to wind its way through the US population in the older ages, there will continue to be rapidly expanding proportions in the 65-and- over and 85-and-over age ranges. By 2030, all of the baby boomers will have moved into the ranks of the older population, resulting in a shift in the age structure of the US from 13 % in the 65 and over range to 19 % by 2030; the 47.8 million older Americans in 2015 are projected to double to almost 100 million in 2060 (98.2 million). For those 85 and over, the projected increase will be from 2.1 million in 2015 to 7.8 million in 2060 [4, 5].

Although there are no data projections for most of the ethnic specific groups of older adults geriatric clinicians will be working with in the future, there are projected growth rates for the larger minority categories which give us an idea of the diverse ethnogeriatric population of the future (see Fig. 15.1).

Although the US population of all ages is projected to be more than half minority (any population other than non-Hispanic White alone) by 2044, in the next four decades the older population is not expected to become majority minority. It is projected, however to be 42 % minority in 2050, up from 20 % in 2010 [4]. For both high and low net international migration assumptions, Asian and Hispanic populations are both projected to more than double in size between 2000 and 2050. The Hispanic population aged 65 and older is projected to grow from 2.9 million in 2010 to 17.5 million, a more than sixfold increase [4]. All race/ethnic categories will see increases in the proportion of older adults in their populations.

The projected growth among these large categories of minority populations, however, does not begin to give the level of detail that is needed for geriatricians of tomorrow to adapt their skills to care for the unique needs of elders from the specific ethnic groups of the future. In addition to the diversity within the minority categories, such as the over 30 countries of origin represented among “Asians”, there will be aging populations from the diverse populations of Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Sudan and Somali) and Southeast Asia (e.g., Burmese) who have come as younger immigrants and refugees and are aging in the US. There will also be older “followers of adult children” from countries around the globe who come to be with their adult children. Unfortunately, neither the Census Bureau nor other organizations project the size of the specific ethnic subpopulations by country of origin for which

Percent aged 65 and over in minority populations. 2010 And 2050 (Projected) Source

Fig. 15.1 Percent aged 65 and over in minority populations. 2010 And 2050 (Projected) Source: Older Americans, 2012. Notes : African American alone and Asian alone. All Other includes American Indian and Alaska Native alone, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, and those who report two or more races

more detailed cultural characteristics would be important in clinical care. However, there are projections that provide a picture of some future characteristics that are clinically relevant, such as nativity and language use.

 
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