Understanding Alaska’s growing senior population

Alaska’s senior population is growing faster than in any other U.S. state. Demographer Eddie Hunsinger says the that is largely due to baby boomers turning 65. (iStock)
The senior population in Alaska is growing faster than any other state in the United States.

State Demographer Eddie Hunsinger says the “rapid increase” is largely based on baby boomers turning 65.

Interview Highlights

Impact of the baby boomer generation: “We have a rapidly-growing senior population and this will continue into the 2020s. And it’s really driven by a large number of baby boomers who moved to the state… who moved to Alaska in the 1970s and 80s, and sort of transformed the age structure of our state. And now in recent years, baby boomers, since after 2010 started reaching age 65, so we saw this big increase in our senior population. And that is ongoing right now.”

Seniors at work: “In Alaska, labor force participation is a bit higher than down south. In general, nationwide and in Alaska, we’re seeing increases over recent decades for labor force participation of seniors.”

Racial diversity: “The racial makeup of the the baby boomers was a little bit more white. So we’ve noticed that in recent years the senior population is becoming a little more white. And that’s a bit different than we’re seeing for other age groups in the state. We’re seeing increased racial diversity. In the long term, we expect racial diversity to increase for the senior population.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Northwestern Canada not prepared for aging population, doctor says, CBC News

Finland: Finland’s elder care needs funding boost to meet Nordic standards: researcher, Yle News

Norway: Political support for Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian government to raise retirement age by several years, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Jönköping, Sweden – famous for its elderly care, Radio Sweden

United States: Can Alaska handle its senior population growth?, Alaska Public Media

Abbey Collins, Alaska Public Media

Abbey Collins, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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