Age Wave to Arrive Sooner in Some County Districts

By John R. Corlett

President and Executive Director
December 4, 2017

One of the statistics that caught my eye in the Cuyahoga County district profiles The Center for Community Solutions recently released was the fact that a few Cuyahoga County Council districts appear to quickly be approaching the point where persons over the age of 65 will outnumber those under the age of 18. 

On a countywide basis, 21.8 percent of the county's population is under the age of 18 while 16.2 percent is over the age of 65. But the gap between the percentage of children and older adults has been steadily shrinking.  Ohio tends to be an older state when compared to the nation as a whole, but Cuyahoga County tends to be older still. The chart below examines this gap for all 11 county council districts.

 

Based on this data it is likely that Cuyahoga County Council District 1 represented by council member Nan Baker will be the first county council district where older adults will outnumber those under the age of 18. Districts represented by council members Scott Tuma (District 4), Jack Schron (District 6), and Sunny Simon (District 11) will likely follow close behind. Council member Jack Schron currently has the largest number of older adults living in his district with over 23,000 adults age 65 and over living in County Council District 6. Meanwhile Cuyahoga County Council President Dan Brady has the fewest older adults, just over 12,000, living in his county council district.

As the percentage of Cuyahoga County’s population over age 65 continues to grow, so will the demand for health and social services. County policy makers will need to balance the needs of a shrinking younger population with a growing older population. Already Cuyahoga County’s Department of Senior and Adult Services has had trouble meeting the demand for their Options for Independent Living program. The program provides in-home care to Cuyahoga County residents who, because of income and/or assets, are not eligible for Medicaid waiver programs.

There is one important caveat to remember when reviewing this data. It comes from 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for Cuyahoga County council districts, calculated by Northern Ohio Data and Information Service at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Because geographies are relatively small, margins of error may be high, and differences between geographies should be interpreted with caution.