Why this is important
The reason to pay attention to the number of seniors and children in the County is because seniors, as they age, generally need a fair amount of care and the workers who will provide that care are today’s children. This relationship is called the dependency ratio. The dependency ratio in Dakota County is about to undergo a huge shift. Currently, the ratio is 7:1, which means there are about seven working-aged adults (16–64) to support every one retiree (65+) in Dakota County. By 2030, that ratio will be close to 3:1 in the County. The change toward an older population will affect the county on macro and micro levels; fewer workers will support more retirees, the types of businesses might change, schools might close, work hours might shift and recreation needs likely might move from child-centric activities to activities more suitable for older adults.
What the data show
The State Demographic Center projects the number of Minnesotans older than 65 will double between 2005 and 2035; the U.S. Administration on Aging also projects the number of Americans older than 65 will double in the next 30 years. Dakota County’s development pattern magnifies this effect. The State Demographer projects the County’s 65-plus population to more than triple between 2005 and 2035, from 30,855 to 106,430. There were more people of age 45 and older in 2010 than in 2000. On the other hand, population between 30 and 44 was shrinking in the same time. Dakota County’s median age continues to increase to an estimate of 37.2 years in 2011, from 33.7 in 2000.