PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s senior citizen population is projected to increase by about 75 percent over the next three decades, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Division of Planning.
By 2040, about 25 percent of the state’s population will be aged 65 or older, the division projects, up from 14 percent in 2010. The overall elderly population will increase from 152,000 to about 264,000 over those 30 years.
“Businesses, organizations and agencies who serve seniors in Rhode Island should expect increasing demand over the next 30 years,” the Division of Planning said in a press release.
As a result, the percentage of working-age adults, which the state classifies as aged between 20 and 65, will drop from 60.7 percent in 2010 to 54.2 percent in 2040.
The Division of Planning said this projection will create some economic challenges for the state.
“The very young and the elderly population tend to be the most dependent on the support of others, and a shrinking share of working age population may signal increased strain on those who support younger and older generations,” the Division of Planning said.
The state also projects that overall population will stay stagnant through 2020, will grow until 2030, and then fall off again.
The state’s population forecast is based on historical data, birth and death projections, and projections of the number of people who will move in or out of the state.
The state’s population growth over the next three decades will rely on people moving into the state, the Division of Planning said, because the state’s aging population will create less natural population growth from births. More people are currently moving out of Rhode Island than moving in, but the state projects this will end around 2020.
The state cited national data projecting that immigration into the country will be key to most United States population growth by 2038.