Thursday, November 5, 2015

Senior Population Tsunami, Non-Senior Drought Hits Vermont

Population of More Seniors and Fewer Non-seniors Tide Begins to Sweep Across Vermont

At a Burlington governor candidates forum November 2, 2015, all expressed concern about the need for more  Vermont working age population—both a Republican and a Democrat called for the State to grow its population to 700,000 to provide for economic stability. The candidates face a Vermont tide of declining working age population, a doubling of senior residents, and collapse of school aged children numbers during the current 2010-2030 period. The 2010-2030 State average estimate of total growth of 19,500, 3.1%, barely pushes the population needle from the 2010 number, 625,700 to 645,300 in 2030.

Whatever the numbers, the tide of an aging population and stable or declining non-senior population remains typical for slow growth areas like New England and the upper mid-West—with senior population growth typical of all states.

Vermont now moves into the second quarter of a 20 year period of population decline in all key age groups but one—a senior population which almost doubles 2010-2030, an average estimated additional 88,900 residents 65-years-and over to a 2030 total of 180,500. The average population projection for 2030 places the total State population of 645,300 with seniors 25.9% of that total compare to 14.6% in the 2010 Census.

The radical change in Vermont population trends since the 2010 Census include a year of actual decline and for 2014 estimated total population declines in nine of fourteen Vermont counties. In the State projections averaged, the decline in 0-19 population is 27,100 and 20-64 42,200.

While the official State population estimates do show a 3.1% growth or 19,500 2010-2030. But even Chittenden County which accounts for over half the 3.1% growth for the State loses in the all the key age groups under 65: -10.8% in under 19 aged, -19.7% college aged 20-24, and -4.6 in the prime working aged population 20-64.

While Chittenden County declines in the younger population reflect a major departure from historic patterns going back a half century, the numbers neighboring county Addison startle: 0-19 age -35.9%, 20-64 age -20.7, overall under 65 22.5%. Seniors 65 and over? Up 112.2% from 5,100 to an estimated 10,800.

This analysis averages the two growth estimates, Scenarios A and B, from “Vermont Population Estimates 2010-2030” published by the State of Vermont in 2013, and the report may viewed at

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