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FUTURE LANDSCAPES. The effects of changing demographics. Background. Our region is changing. Demographic facts: Rapid growth of the older population Increasing immigration Flexible, creative policies are the response to this increasing diversity “ Change is the only constant ”

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The effects of changing demographics


Our region is changing

  • Demographic facts:

    • Rapid growth of the older population

    • Increasing immigration

  • Flexible, creative policies are the response to this increasing diversity

    • “Change is the only constant”

  • Maintaining an innovative, competitive workforce will be the key to a thriving, prosperous region

Are you a baby boomer?

Baby boomer quiz: True or false?

  • The majority of boomers plan to work in some capacity during their retirement years

  • The top two boomer concerns about retirement are “being lonely” and “not being able to drive”


















Aging of the U.S. baby boomer generation



Source: US Census Bureau

Growth of the “very old” (85+) population is particularly dramatic







Source: US Census Bureau

Local growth of the age 60+ population 2004 - 2009











Adams County





Clear Creek



Arapahoe County





Most boomers say they want to “age in community” . . .

but communities are not generally set up for successful aging

Even today, we are not meeting the needs of our region’s seniors

Percent of the older population facing problems

A huge gap exists between needs and funding for aging services

Current and projected costs to meet identified needs

($ millions)

2006 funding level: $8 million

Our region’s seniors are not getting their fair share of funding

  • Our region has 52% of the state’s population over 60, but receives only 47% of the funding

  • DRCOG is the only region in the state with long-term waiting lists for services

  • $3.2 million needed annually just to clear the current waiting list for services:

    • Home-delivered meals

    • In-home services

      • Household assistance

      • Personal care

As the U.S.-born population ages, immigration brings new families with new needs

U.S. foreign-born population

  • Increasing since 1970s

    • Back to levels typical of early 20th century

  • Substantially different

    • Past migrants – Europe

    • Today’s migrants – Latin America, Asia

      • More diverse ethnically, racially, culturally, linguistically

  • As boomers retire, immigrants will account for increasing share of the workforce

Most of our region’s immigrants are from Latin America

Percent of the Denver region’s immigrant population

by place of birth

Net population change in Denver metro area by race and Hispanic or Latino origin, 2000-2005

Latin-American immigrants are more likely to live in poverty and suffer from disabilities

Source: US Census Bureau

Latin-American immigrants have less access to vehicles and are more likely to take transit

Source: US Census Bureau

Latin-American immigrants are less likely to attend college or speak English fluently

Latin-American immigrants are more likely to live in households with children

Source: US Census Bureau

Latin-American immigrants are more likely to rent homes and live in multifamily housing

Source: US Census Bureau

Latin-American immigrants tend to live in larger households

Source: US Census Bureau

Policy implications

Flexible, creative public policy

  • Policies supporting a diversity of options

    • Housing

    • Transportation

    • Human services

  • Policies that support a united regional economy

    • Globally competitive

Diverse housing options

  • “Livable Communities”

    • Affordable

    • Multifamily

    • Assisted-living senior housing

    • Family-friendly housing

    • Located near transit

  • Communities that enable all to be active, independent, productive members of society

Diverse transportation options

  • Transit

  • Specialized transportation for elderly, people with disabilities

  • Pedestrian and bicycle facilities

  • Safe lighting, street design

  • Connectivity

Diverse human services

  • Senior centers

  • Workforce training

  • Day care

  • Bi-lingual education

  • Dispersed into immigrant neighborhoods and accessible by transit

Maintaining a competitive workforce

  • Able to retain the knowledge of the boomer generation

  • Able to compete for skilled labor in a shrinking pool

    • “Place” matters

  • Able to support local businesses to be competitive in a global marketplace

Maintaining a competitive region

  • Able to retain our region’s unique sense of “place” and quality of life

    • Key to attracting/retaining skilled workers

Action items

Early action items

  • Advocate at federal, state and local levels for needed resources

    • Meet with representatives

    • Testify at hearings

    • Meet with editorial boards, other members of the press

Early action items

  • Complete and disseminate livable communities development guidelines

    • Strengthen Metro Vision policies

    • Help local governments incorporate into comprehensive plans

Early action items

  • Adopt and distribute findings of DRCOG’s EPA-funded smart growth and aging study

    • Barriers to senior-friendly development

    • Case studies senior-friendly land-use codes

  • Seek funding for similar study of immigrant needs

Early action items

  • Formulate a comprehensive outreach program

    • Raise awareness of demographic changes and implications

    • Work with other non-profits to engage seniors and immigrant community in Metro Vision process

Longer-term efforts

  • Work to secure long-term funding for aging services commensurate with needs

  • Track and highlight best practices within and outside the region

  • Research issues related to attracting and developing a competitive workforce

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