Colorado’s ‘senior tsunami:’ Over 65 population up 15 percent

Photo: Colorado senior (AP Photo)
Census numbers released Thursday show Colorado’s population keeps growing, including a continuing surge in seniors.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau estimate Colorado grew between 2011 and 2013 by nearly a quarter million people to about 5.2 million.

Particularly notable: Colorado’s over 65 population keeps expanding steadily, adding more than 77,000 people. That's an increase of nearly 15 percent.

“It has a lot of implications for our economy, for our public policies, our public services," says Rich Jones, director of policy and research at the non-profit Bell Policy Center. "Clearly, as we’re getting older there’s going to be more demand for some medical care for the seniors.” He says that growth will impact everything from housing to transportation to home healthcare.

Graphic: Elderly population in Colorado
This chart by The Bell Policy Center, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Colorado State Demographer, shows the state's past and projected senior population.

Jones, who recently co-authored a report on the impacts of the so-called "senior tsunami," says as Coloradans live longer the number of people 85-plus, who need the most services, will also grow sharply in the next two decades.

“That’s an age bracket which will drive a lot of demand for different types of services, different types of help to allow people to be able to stay in their homes and just to deal with medical issues that they are most likely to encounter," says Jones.