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Projection: Number of Virginians Over Age 65 Will Double in 20 Years


Virginia isn’t getting any younger.  In fact, new demographic projections about the state’s future show the Old Dominion is about to get significantly older.

In the next 20 years, the number of people over the age of 65 in Virginia is expected to double.  That’s according to new state and local projections conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. 

Shonel Sen is part of the group that crunched the numbers. “There are several reasons behind this.  One of them is the large cohort size of the Baby Boomers.  That was a large cohort size to begin with, and they’re growing older.  Second, you could also think about the medical advances.”

Medical advances that are keeping people alive much longer, a trend that’s only expected to increase over the next 20 years. 

So what will that expanding number of seniors mean for Virginia? Frank Shafroth says the implications could be extremely significant. “What we don’t know from this data obviously is whether they have adequate retirement income or whether they will be more dependent on Medicaid and other retirement assistance from the state of Virginia.”

Medicaid spending already accounts for about a quarter of the state budget.  That percentage could increase dramatically if more people enroll for services as Virginia’s population of seniors continues to grow.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association