CAN Equity Blog

BY THE NUMBERS: Growing Senior Population

Travis County report shows area seniors have the highest population growth rate as well as a growing poverty rate.

Seniors in Travis County Have Fastest Rate of Population Growth and a Rising Poverty Rate

The Travis County Snapshot from the 2017 American Community Survey was recently completed by staff in the Research and Planning Division at Travis County Health and Human Services.  The Research & Planning Division conducts an annual analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  The information is a point-in-time “snapshot” of our community and includes social, economic, and housing characteristics related to human services.  You can view and download the report online at:

https://www.traviscountytx.gov/images/health_human_services/Docs/2017-acs-snapshot.pdf

One of the demographic characteristics that stands out had to do with age distribution of the Travis County population which breaks down as follows: Under 18 (22%), 18 to 24 (9%), 25 to 44 (36% of the population), 45 to 64 (23% of the population) and over 65 (10% of the population). The age distribution for Travis County continues to be characterized by a large working age population. The following chart, which notes the population growth for each age group from 2013 to 2017, provides a slightly different perspective.

Clearly, the increase in 65 and over age group stands out. The Travis County total population has increased by 9%, compared to 7% statewide and 4% nationally. During the same time, the population 65 years and older in Travis County had the largest popu­lation increase by 29% compared to 17% statewide and 14% nationally. This is certainly a trend to watch. Another chart presented in Travis County’s 2017 ACS Snapshot drives the point as to why we really need to pay attention to the growth of our senior population.

The “poverty status by age” chart belowshows changes in the poverty rate for different sub-populations of Travis County from 2013-2017. The increase in the poverty rate for seniors jumps out in this chart not because it is the highest rate of any of the sub-groups for which data is reported, but because it is the only sub-group for which an increase in the poverty rate is reported over the five year period. While the overall poverty rate for Travis County decreased from 16% to 12%, the poverty rate for adults who are 65 year of age and older increased from 7% to 10%. The increasing population of seniors coupled with the increasing poverty rate for this age-group merits certainly further attention and discussion.