Boomers tell me they will never be seniors. Or go to senior centers. Or live in age-segregated communities.
They will be eternally "nonaging."
And soon the "nonaging" agers will take over the U.S. aging sector simply with their numbers.
Baby boomers, 77 million of them, are reaching 65, and soon the "oldest" will outnumber the "youngest" (those under 5) for the first time in history.
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Of course, this already is demographically changing the face of America.
U.S. Census data released recently show that booming counties in the West and Sun Belt areas that attracted young families in the 1990s are part of the silver tsunami, as it's called. The 55-64 population in suburban counties around such cities as Denver and Atlanta more than doubled since 2000, USA Today reports.
People are staying put and growing -- dare I say it -- older. Meanwhile, young people are leaving the Midwest and New England, where there are few job opportunities.
"Old and increasingly old counties tend to be nonmetropolitan counties in both the Snow Belt and Sun Belt states," demographer William Frey told USA Today. "Slower-growing, whiter states tend to show highest ages and biggest gains in median age."
But while the older population booms, the actual numbers are not growing as fast as expected due to an influx of younger immigrants. The Census Bureau, using 2010 Census data, recently calculated the national median age at 37.2 years old, an increase since 2000 but below the increase of 2.5 years in the 1990s.
Researchers have long predicted the graying of America. As a group, the 65-plus cohort is expected to double to 85 million by 2050, leading to changes in transportation planning, medical care and other consumer services.
Since we've added 20 years to life spans in the 20th century, boomers also can expect to live well into their 80s, maybe 90s. That means huge changes in the way we work, potentially retire, even relate to spouses.
For instance, would Maria Shriver, 55, consider divorcing Arnold Schwarzenegger, 63, if they both didn't expect another 20 to 30 years of living? I don't think so.
And then there's the work issue.
I've got a friend -- a former Californian who had her own computer-related business -- who now lives in New Hampshire. At 67, she's working part-time at two public libraries and loving her jobs.
"I wish I could have been a librarian," Lynne says. "But I couldn't have supported three children on that kind of salary. Now the income supplements what I'm already getting from Social Security and investments, and that's just great."
Volunteering should be a terrific option for aging boomers.
Sorry ... 65-plus boomers.
As Lynne says, sometimes it's terrific to have a job -- if you enjoy the work.
Jane Glenn Haas writes for The Orange County (Calif .) Register.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jane's column appears every Sunday.
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