CASPER, Wyo. — The elderly population (age 65 and over) in the state grew 3.9 percent between July 2017 and July 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
The median age rose to 38 years, while it increased from 38 to 38.2 during the same period for the the entire country.
The figure indicates that the aging of Wyoming’s population has slowed down, but the pace was still one of the fastest in the country.
Article continues below...
According to a release from the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division, though the impact from Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) aging was the main reason, Wyoming’s economic performance also played a big role.
“Even though Wyoming’s economy has been rebounding since late 2016, the speed of the recovery was still moderate,” said Dr. Wenlin Liu, Chief Economist with the State of Wyoming, Economic Analysis Division.
In addition, the labor market nationwide, particularly in neighboring states such as Colorado, Utah, and Idaho, continued to
show strong growth, which drew Wyoming workers and residents.
“Movers tend to be much younger than non-movers, and this is particularly true for Wyoming,” Liu says.
Whenever the State experiences overall negative net migration (less people moved into Wyoming than residents moving out), the population aging will be faster. The state’s total population decreased 0.2 percent, and net migration was about -3,100 between July 2017 and July 2018. Even with the fast aging, Wyoming population still ranked as the 19th youngest in the nation in 2018.
Since 2010, total population increased 2.5 percent, but the population under 18 years decreased 0.5 percent where pre- school age children declined 10.7 percent.
The age 18-64 group dropped 2.9 percent during the eight-year span. The share of the State’s elderly population (65 and over) was 16.5 percent in 2018, higher than the U.S. level of 16.0 percent.
Wyoming has one of the highest proportions of the baby boom (age 54-72 in 2018) population, and one of the lowest proportion of Generation X (age 38 to 53 in 2018) in the country.
“Wyoming does not have enough resident workers to replace retiring boomers,” Liu said. “With currently low unemployment rate (3.6%), and if millennials continue to move to big metro areas, the state may face a serious labor force shortage and faster population aging in the near future.”
Wyoming’s population age 65 and older increased from 70,090 in 2010 to 95,375 in 2018, or 36.1 percent, higher than the U.S.’ growth rate of 30.2 percent during the same period.
The elderly population in Wyoming is projected to reach 131,000, or well over one-fifth of the state’s total residents by 2030 when all baby boomers will be in this age group.
Wyoming’s total minority population reached 93,484 in July 2018.