Illinois Getting Older, According To Census

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois’ population is getting older, with new Census data showing that the median age pushing past 36 over the past decade.

Economists and others say this continues a steady trend and will have far-reaching effects for the state for years.

Illinois and states across the country have been getting for older for some time as baby boomers age and, for states in the Midwest and Northeast, people leave for warmer, often more-prosperous areas.

But the new figures show the steady aging continues, likely ratcheting up the demand for social services even as the percentage of the population still in the workforce drops off. And in states like Illinois, where governments struggle to find the money to pay for their existing obligations, that weight could prove particularly burdensome.

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According to the new data, the median age for Illinois was 36.6 in 2010, up from 34.7 in 2000 and 32.8 in 1990. The national media age was 37.2 last year, up from 35.3 in 2000.

“The consequences of this are kind of endless,” said Matthew Hall, a sociologist at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Institute for Government & Public Affairs.

Not only does an aging population mean a smaller percentage of the people in the state likely are working and paying taxes, but more of them are likely to be retiring and, if they’re government workers, drawing on “somewhat generous” pensions that are increasingly difficult to pay for.

Across the Midwest, rural areas that people have been leaving for years likely are aging even faster and getting poorer in the process, said Ernie Goss, a regional economist at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

Goss said the people leaving are “just younger, meaning that what’s left behind (is) older.”

At the other end of the spectrum are metro areas which, Hall said, tend to draw enough people to keep their populations younger and, in the process, their economies and local tax bases healthier. Chicago is the leading example.

“Just because of the economic engine that is the Chicago metro area, they’re able to compensate for the aging of the populations through migration,” he said. “The Chicago metro area is very much a thriving metro area.”

  • Jim

    I see one typo in the article; the “somewhat generous” should be changed to “lottery-esque”.

  • Larry Polte

    Any young people with half a brain fled this tax heavy state. If I was’nt 52, I’d be gone too. Still may move to Indiana one day. This liberal state has some of the most ignorant voters in America……….

  • Get Smart

    Young people are smarter these days….. smart enough to leave this corrupt state. And those that aren’t leaving were smart enough to not fill out the census.

  • Gone to Texas

    Twenty Five years ago I moved from “The Sucker State” where I was born and raised to
    Texas. I’ve never looked back.
    As Davy Crockett said “You can all go to Hell, I’m going to Texas”.

  • Bill

    born and raised in the sucker state. But soon am looking into TN are pigeon forge, Gatlinburgh. Cant be too soon

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  • Sid Harth

    I love CBS. I love Chicago. I landed in Chicago, oh, so many years ago and became a citizen. I went to school in Chicago, among others, University of Illinois, Chicago campus. My children were born in Chicago, not exactly, in Chicago suburbs, namely Oak Park, IL and Oak Lawn, Il. I worked in Chicago. I donated money for charities in Chicago. I was a member of Chicago Symphony. I bought my first ever car, a Chevy Malibu in Chicago. I bought my first house in Chicago, in a middle class heaven called Beverly Hills. My children attaended Chicago private Academy. With that kind of love, admiration, faith and trust shwn herewith, how come you are stealing my article mentioned below to get me here? At least, you could have put a link to my domain. Here it is:
    Illinois Getting Older, According To Census « CBS Chicago
    May 26, 2011 … Pingback: News, Views and Reviews: Sid Harth » My Sister Eileen: Sid Harth. Pingback: Illinois News Watch | Illinois Getting Older, ……/illinois-getting-older-according-to-census/

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