With the release of the U.S. Census’ 2019 5-year Estimates comes an opportunity to explore various populations within state. Last year, I took a look at how many counties in the state had flipped to have more older adults than children. Looking at this most recent data release revealed that no additional counties have flipped. And so I began to wonder about the oldest residents in Ohio. According to data released today, an estimated 250,000 residents are aged 85 and older which is 2.2 percent of the total population of the state. Over the past 10 years, this rate has remained fairly consistent, varying between 2 and 2.2 percent.
In 2031, the first of the baby boomers will turn 85 and thus begin the shift of boomers into this oldest census grouping.
In 2031, the first of the baby boomers will turn 85 and thus begin the shift of boomers into this oldest census grouping, the next phase of the age wave that began that started as boomers began turning 65 in 2011. It is quite likely both the total number of residents age 85 and older, and the percentage they make up of the total population, will increase throughout the state. As aging network professionals and policymakers plan for a future that will include more octogenarians, it may be useful for them to turn to counties that currently have high numbers or rates of this age group to hear about lessons learned and best practices. As poverty among older adults continues to rise, as we have seen again in the 2019 5-year estimates, some future octogenarians will have spent much of their older adulthood with very few resources and will need an increased level of support as they age.
Cuyahoga County and Franklin County are the two most populous counties in the state with both having more than 1.2 million residents. Cuyahoga, however, has a greater share of those aged 85 and older. An estimated 33,000 Cuyahoga County residents are age 85 and older, making up 2.65 percent of the population. In Franklin County, adults older than 85 make up just 1.4 percent of the population – or an estimated 18,600 residents. Services in Cuyahoga County may already be shifting to focus on serving an older population.
Mahoning County is the least populous county included in the table above, but has the highest rate of residents older than age 85, with 3.22 percent of the population age 85 and older. That means, approximately 12,400 residents of the county have already celebrated their 85th birthday. Other counties of note when considering this sub-population are Noble and Ottawa. These counties have had more older adults than children since 2017 and currently have the highest rate of older adults among all counties in the state at 24 percent (Ottawa) and 27 percent (Noble). In addition to having the highest rate of older adults, Noble County also has the highest rate of those aged 85 and older with 3.35 percent of the population. Currently 3.02 percent of residents of Ottawa county age 85 and older.
Those who are aged 85 and older are far more likely to need long-term services and supports than those between the ages of 65 and 84.
According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, those who are aged 85 and older are far more likely to need long-term services and supports than those between the ages of 65 and 84. The study found 40 percent of adults ages 85 and older in 2014 had severe long-term service and support needs compared to just 8 percent of those between the ages of 65 and 74. Knowing that older populations have higher long-term care needs and that the number of octogenarians will grow in about 10 years, now is the time to consider what types of long-term care services and supports should continue to be supported, what changes should be made and what innovations could be implemented to provide the right amount of support.