The demographic transition is already here, and the opportunity will only continue to grow:
A quarter of the United States population is over the age of 55. By 2050, a third of the U.S. population will be over 55 and 20% will be over 65. The population over 80 will be the fastest growing segment of the population for the next 40 years. This situation is not unique to the United States – nearly 40% of the population of the developed world will be over 55 by 2050.
Those are just the demographic statistics. Consider also that the 78 million Americans over 55 are the most consistently vocal group politically. They control approximately 70% of the country’s disposable income and 75% of the financial assets. Their age cohort represents $1 trillion in spending power. The vast majority of this population wants to stay in their current communities, in their current homes, as they get older.
The number of people over 65 in the workforce is projected to increase more than 80 percent in the next 10 years, and not just because of the aging of baby boomers – more older adults are choosing to keep working or return to work.
While a few leading organizations are responding to the complex web of possibilities related to the growing older population, the great majority are not. Many of those that are aware and planning accordingly cannot adapt at the pace at which the demographic transition is occurring.
Individual organizations are ill equipped to handle the interconnected opportunities and challenges related to the demographic transition. We already know a lot about healthy aging, but that knowledge is spread across sectors and industries, with few mechanisms or incentives to share and collaborate:
Researchers have the data and ideas but lack the resources or mission to put them into action.
Aging service providers and nonprofits understand the people they care for, but are overwhelmed.
Governments want to innovate, but often the risks involved with testing new ideas are too great.
Companies understand the market opportunity, but need to interact with diverse partners and consumers to formulate and test ideas.
Sarasota County and Institute for the Ages are 40 years ahead of the most important demographic trend of our time – how far ahead are you?