© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Seniors to Outnumber Children, Although Virginia Lags National Trend

The senior population in Virginia is about to experience a boom.

In the next 15 years, according to the United States Census Bureau, seniors will outnumber children.

Frank Shafroth at George Mason University says that’s right around the time that Social Security will go bankrupt, and yet he says nobody in Congress or the White House seems to want to do anything about it.

“They know a day is coming when that check, that monthly check in the mail, is not going to come," Shafroth says. "And no one seems to want to think about it, and certainly no one in this White House or this Congress appears to want to do anything about it.”

Here in Virginia, seniors over the age of 65 won’t outnumber children under the age of 18 until after 2040.

Shonel Sen at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service says that’s because the birth rate in Virginia is not declining as rapidly as it is in other states. 

"Even though we see aging to be consistent, both nationally and in Virginia," Sen explains. "In Virginia we do still have a significant younger population. So while aging is catching up with us, it is doing it at a slower pace.”

And, she adds, we’ll have a better idea of exactly what that pace is in Virginia and elsewhere after the 2020 Census next year.

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

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.