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Aging in Pennsylvania: 65-plus population has grown by 13.5 percent this decade

A drone offers a detailed aerial view of the construction site at Frederick Living, a senior-living community in Montgomery County. Senior-living communities continue to expand across the commonwealth to meet growing demands from an aging population. - (Photo / File)

Pennsylvania is a slow growth state with the exception of residents who are 65 or older.

The senior citizen population in the commonwealth grew by 13.5 percent from 2010 to 2016, according to a recent research report from the Pennsylvania State Data Center, which analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s total population rose just 0.6 percent over that span.

There are now 2.2 million people age 65 or older in Pennsylvania, according to the center. That represents 17.4 percent of the total population in Pennsylvania, up from 15.4 percent in 2010.

That may be good news for senior-living providers who already are expanding their facilities to meet demands from an aging population.

The largest increase over the last six years was the 65 to 69 cohort, which grew by 31.9 percent across Pennsylvania. That age group also was the fastest-growing segment of the population in Central Pennsylvania, according to the center.

Pennsylvania’s biggest decreases since 2010 have come in the 40 to 44 age group and 45 to 49 group. Those segments of the population dropped by 14.7 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

By county, Pike County experienced the greatest percentage increase in its 65-plus population at 30.1 percent since 2010. Adams County was No. 2 at 24.5 percent.

Sullivan County led the way for highest percentage of its population age 65 and over at 27.8 percent.

In Central Pennsylvania, the 65-plus crowd ranges from 16 percent of the population in Dauphin County to 18.9 percent in Lebanon County. Cumberland, Lancaster and York counties all fall within that range.

Pennsylvania ranked seventh in the nation for the percent of its population in the 65-plus age group, according to the center.

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