The state of Ohio, along with the rest of the county, has seen a growth in the older adult population over the past ten or so years. This subset of the population is expected to continue to increase until about 2030 when Gen X enters the older adult age group. Both the number of adults age sixty-five and older and their share of the total population have increased. Between 2010 and 2020 the estimated number of older adults in Ohio increased from 1.5 million in 2010 to 1.9 million in 2020. In 2010, older adults made up 13.8% of the population and by 2020 this group represented 17% of the total population.
Between 2010 and 2020 the estimated number of older adults in Ohio increased from 1.5 million in 2010 to 1.9 million in 2020.
Changes in Cuyahoga County are two-fold: older and younger residents
Within Cuyahoga County, growth among the older adult population varies by community but largely follows the trend of the state. Among the inner ring suburbs that have total populations over one thousand residents, only Brooklyn Heights saw a decrease in the percent of older adults in their community between the years of 2010 and 2020. The remainder of communities had a higher percentage of older adults in 2020 than in 2010. There are two reasons the percent of older adults could increase in a community; the total number of older adults could be increasing or the total number of younger people could be decreasing. Within the inner ring suburbs of Cleveland, both of these things are happening.
More people are aging in place and younger people are leaving
With the exception of Brooklyn Heights and Garfield Heights, all of the inner ring suburbs included in the analysis saw both an increase in older adults and a decrease in residents younger than sixty-five between the years of 2010 and 2020. Brooklyn Heights population trended in the opposite direction with an increase in the number of younger residents and a decrease in the number of older adults. Garfield Heights had both a dip in population of older and younger residents but with larger decrease in younger residents. Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Newburgh Heights and Warrensville Heights lead the inner ring suburb group in both increased number of older adults and decreased number of younger residents.
Shifting demographics means shifting community need
With populations decreasing across nearly all inner ring suburbs and the City of Cleveland, looking at age group changes can help identify how the population is shifting and what that means for a community. As the inner ring suburbs increase in both the numbers of older adults and the share of older adults of the total population, communities should consider if changes in resource allocation are necessary to meet the need of the current population.
Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Newburgh Heights and Warrensville Heights lead the inner ring suburb group in both increased number of older adults and decreased number of younger residents.
Cuyahoga County has recently joined the AARP network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. As part the network, the Cuyahoga County Department of Senior and Adult Services with support from the Western Reserve Area Office on Aging will be assessing the needs of older adults throughout the county. This assessment will provide the opportunity to explore how communities in Cuyahoga County have adapted to the changing demographics and what additional resources are needed.
Source: ACS 2010 5-year estimates, ACS 2020 5-year estimates