As America Ages to 65+

Thanks to medical and scientific advances Americans are living longer, more functional and capable lives. According to Time, “an American born today has a projected average lifespan 20 full years longer than one born in 1925, and we are, as a society, growing old.”

A new frontier for our society, this is the first time in America’s history we are seeing growth rates of the 65+ population balloon to more than 50% growth in some counties. A recent report by the Pew Research Center found 97% of US counties experienced a rise in their 65+ populations in the last four years. Not surprisingly, Florida tops the list. Overall, 19.1% of the Sunshine State’s population is 65 and older, the highest percentage in the nation.

blogWhat was surprising was Colorado’s debut on the list. An up-and-coming “aging” state, several counties in Colorado prove to be aging much more rapidly than others. Douglas, Routt, and Elbert County capture the top three fasting-aging counties in the nation, all of which experienced more than 50% growth in their 65+ population since 2010. A trend that may be reflective of the idea Boomers are seeking a more active and adventurous retirement.

The graying of America will put pressure on our institutions to adapt and re-examine employment practices, pension plans and family structures knowing people will be living longer, functional lives. This trend will also challenge brands to embrace this influential cohort.

We’ve seen this at W5 as the number of studies focused on aging Boomers and seniors are on the rise. We’ve been working with brands and advertising agencies to uncover product design and messaging strategies that truly resonate. An opportunity gap highlighted in a J. Walter Thompson London report that found 82% of over-50s didn’t feel represented in advertising. A data point to keep top of mind as research planning for 2016 and beyond takes shape.

Image Source: Pew Research Center

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