Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gray Matter

In Pittsburgh's favorite color should be gray, the PG's Gary Rotstein provides a summary of the 2006 American Community Survey:
The 65-and-over population makes up 17.1 percent of the region, compared to 12.4 percent of the nation. Those 85 or older represent an estimated 2.5 percent locally and 1.7 percent nationally.

Pittsburgh's biggest proportional shortfalls in young people fell in the under-5 and 25-34 age ranges, but it even showed a lower share of people in their late teens and 20s than the country as a whole, despite the large number of colleges that attract young non-Pittsburghers.
When considering proportions of age groups in a metro region, it seems especially important to unpack the percentages a bit. A one percent difference at one end of the age distribution does not equal a one percent difference in the middle.

So when we compare our 2.5 percent over 85 to the 1.7 percent nationally, it's more than a small difference. Our 2.5 percent over 85 has significant implications for our health care system and our caregiving workforce.

Knowing what we know about these age distributions and rates of change, what are the projections for our region's population in the next 30 years under various scenarios of immigration, out migration and death rates?

And now for something completely different, here's a little of what football looked like when today's 103 year olds came into the world (Michigan vs. the University of Chicago in 1904 -- the title slide incorrectly identifies it as from 1903):

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