Why this is important
The reason to pay attention to the number of seniors and children in the County is because older adults, as they age, 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. In 2012, the ratio was estimated at 6:1, which means there were about six working-aged adults (ages 16-64) to support each retiree (age 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 in Dakota County. The U.S. Administration on Aging also projects the number of Americans older than 65 will double in the next 30 years. The State Demographer projects the County’s 65-plus population to more than triple between 2005 and 2035, from 30,855 to 106,430.
This chart overlays two data sets (2010 Census and 2013 American Community Survey) to show population changes by age and gender. There were more people between the ages of 50 and 84 in 2013 than in 2010, shown on the chart where the shaded areas are wider than the black outline. Population at the age of 85 and older remains stable. The population between the ages of 40 and 49 decreased in 2013. Dakota County’s median age increased from 33.7 in 2000 to an estimate of 37.4 in 2013. On the chart, the bars where the outline exceeds the color shaded area means the population has declined between 2010 and 2013.