The Big Shift – Did it Happen?

In a previous blog, the CCS Research team identified some trends we would be looking for in the U.S. Census Bureau data released today.  The big day is here – let’s take a look!

3. Has demographic shift arrived?
Our population is aging rapidly, thanks to longer lifespans, low fertility rates, and the baby boomers. In 2010, children under age 18 outnumbered older adults aged 65 and older in every county in Ohio. Across the state, the gap between children and seniors is shrinking. While we don’t think the pendulum will swing for the entire state in 2016, it is possible.

Did the percentage of children decrease?

To answer this question, we looked at the population trends for children 18 and under in Ohio, Cuyahoga County, and Cleveland.  As expected, the percentage of children has continued to trend downwards. Although slight, the under 18 population percentage has dropped each of the most recent five years in Cuyahoga County and Ohio. While Cleveland saw an increase in 2014, numbers from 2015 and 2016 return to the trend of children being a smaller share of the overall population than in years past.

Did the percentage of older adults increase?

Once again, as expected the percentage of older adults has continued to trend upwards. In Ohio and Cuyahoga County the percent of older adults has increased each year over the past five years.  Although Cleveland followed the same trend upwards between 2012 and 2015, the city saw a slight decrease in percentage of older adults from 2015 to 2016, and it will be interesting to see what happens next year with the older adult population in Cleveland.

Has the demographic shift happened?

Not yet, but we are getting closer. In all three geographies, the under 18 population is still higher than the older adult population.

When will we see the shift?

If trends continue, Cuyahoga County is likely to be the first of the three geographies to experience the population flip.  Currently, there is a 4 percent difference between children and older adults within the county and the gap is closing at approximately half a percent each year. Will 2025 be the year of the full demographic shift in Cuyahoga County? Only time and census data will tell.