ELYRIA — Lorain County’s population is getting older, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The percentage of county residents
19 or younger has dropped over the past quarter-century as the population 65 and older has grown in size.
The median age of people living in the county has gone up as well.
In 1990, the median age for a county resident was 32.8 years old, but by 2015, that figure had climbed to 41.3 years old, according to the Census Bureau.
Brian Frederick, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County, said the effects of the demographic changes already are being felt in the county.
“It’s going to impact everything,” he said.
The county’s population has grown from 271,126 in 1990 to an estimated 305,147 in 2015, according to the Census Bureau.
The data showed that in 1990, those
19 and younger comprised 30.7 percent of the county’s population, while 57.7 percent were between the ages of 20 and 64. Those 65 and older made up 11.6 percent of the population.
At the time, the county had a slightly younger population than the rest of the state and nation as a whole. Across the country, those 19 and younger made up 28.7 percent of the population, while
58.8 percent were between the ages of
20 and 64. Those 65 and older made up 12.6 percent of the population.
The figures also showed that in 1990,
29 percent of Ohio residents were 19 and younger, with 58.1 percent being between the ages of 20 and 64. Those 65 and older comprised 13 percent of the population.
By 2010, Lorain County had an older population than both the rest of the state and country.
The Census Bureau data show that
14.3 percent of the county population of 301,356 was 65 or older, while 26.7 percent was 19 or younger. Those between the ages of 20 and 64 made up 59 percent of the population.
Statewide, those 65 or older made up 14.1 percent of the population, while those younger than 19 comprised
26.6 percent of the population. The figures showed that 59.4 percent of the population was between the ages of 20 and 64.
For the entire United States, 13 percent of the population was 65 and older, while 27 percent was 19 or younger. Those falling in the 20 to 64 age category made up 60 percent of the population.
According to the latest Census Bureau estimates, the county’s percent of the population 65 or older swelled to
16.8 percent last year, while the population 19 or younger dropped to 25.2 percent. About 58 percent of the population was between 20 and 64 in age.
Nationally, 14.9 percent of the population was 65 and older, while 25.6 percent was 19 or younger. About 59.6 percent of population was between 20 and 64 years old.
Statewide, 15.9 percent of the population was 65 or older, while 25.3 percent was 19 or under. Around 58.9 percent was between 20 and 64 years old.
Bill Harper, executive director of United Way of Greater Lorain County, said he’s seen the data and it didn’t come as a surprise to him. He said he expects the trend to accelerate in the coming years and has seen projections that put the population of the county that is 64 and older at roughly 26 percent by 2030.
Harper said the change appears to be the result of several demographic shifts that are taking place not only in Lorain County and Ohio, but also across the nation.
He said part of the change is that the Baby Boomer generation is getting older and being replaced in the workforce by the smaller Generation X and millennial generations.
That’s coupled with younger people and their families leaving the area to seek jobs elsewhere, he said.
“Ultimately, I think jobs are the drivers,” Harper said. “We have a mobile society and people go where the jobs are.”
Harper and Lorain County General Health District Commissioner Dave Covell both said that the aging of the population will lead to some job opportunities, particularly in medical fields. Advances in medical technology mean that people are living longer.
“There will be job opportunities related to providing services to older adults,” Harper said.
Greg Ring, superintendent of the Educational Service Center of Lorain County, didn’t disagree with that assessment. He said school districts across the county are seeing their student populations drop, although there are exceptions such as communities that have seen growth in recent years, like Avon.
Some of those decreases also can be blamed on competition from charter schools, but in large part Ring thinks the decrease in student population comes from the larger demographic changes.
The changes have meant most school districts in the county have seen their staffing levels decrease as the districts work to save money, but Ring said he doesn’t think the losses will continue.
“I think the trend is more to stabilization than continued loss, at least that’s my sense,” he said.
David Knox contributed to this story.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147