As of 2016, 15 percent of our state’ population of about 10,156,000 were aged 65 and older. By 2036, it is projected that this age cohort will make up 21 percent of North Carolina’s more than 12,440,000. The group growing at the largest rate will be those aged 85 and older.
Chatham is among the 76 counties with more people age 60 and older than 17 and younger. By 2025, we will see 89 of our 100 counties with more older adults than youth.
In 2016, Chatham had an estimated 23,258 persons aged 60 and older (32 percent of the county’s population) as compared to 14,136 of those aged 17 and younger (19 percent). By 2036, it is projected that more than 4 of every 10 Chatham residents (41 percent) will be 60 and older while 16% will be 17 and younger. Much of this change is due to the aging of the baby boomer population.
By 2036, Chatham is projected to be one of eight counties with one in three of its residents aged 65 and older. The other seven counties are Cherokee, Clay, Henderson, Pamlico, Brunswick, Polk and Transylvania.
Chatham is also among the top eight counties measured by its projected growth for the population 65 and older between 2016 and 2036. Joining Chatham with this distinction are Cabarrus, Currituck, Hoke, Johnston, Mecklenburg, Union, and Wake.
“These data emphasize the importance of the aging plan for Chatham that is currently being developed,” remarked Dennis Streets, director of the Chatham County Council on Aging.
“It is vital that we identify and address the opportunities as well as challenges that our growing older population presents,” Streets added.
The Steering Committee, which is guiding the development of the Chatham Aging Plan, has selected five primary focus areas based on community input through forums and surveys. These are transportation; healthcare services and coverage; housing; social connectedness, community engagement, and opportunities for fulfillment; and care services and caregiving.
Each of these five areas will have a workgroup to make recommendations to help shape the future of aging in Chatham. Persons interested in participating in one of these work groups should contact Dennis Streets at 919-542-4512, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about Chatham’s aging plan, visit http://chathamcouncilonaging.org/chatham-aging-plan/.