As the baby boomer generation ages, Oregon's retirement age population is growing faster than the U.S. average. According to a recent report, the senior population for Deschutes County has increased by 53 percent since 2010 while the overall population growth has been 18.5 percent for the same period.
Most of the state growth is not coming from in-migration, but from people aging from within the state. In Deschutes County, the senior population is experiencing the fastest growth due to residents aging and the new people moving here. People are finding this a desirable place to move because our housing is affordable compared to some neighboring states.
The rapid aging of our population has economic implications because increasing senior populations increase demands for labor as businesses lose highly skilled employees to retirement. Finding workers to fill those jobs who can afford to live here could be a big problem, but since these will likely be higher level pay jobs, it may provide advancement opportunities for younger workers. Our expanding higher education community with the Oregon State University Cascades campus is expected to help attract a younger labor force.
As seniors continue to age and their mobility declines, housing, transportation and health care providers will also be impacted by the increase in the senior population. This could lead to changes in public transportation and opening up of entry level homes to first time buyers as the aging population moves to retirement apartments, etcetera.