“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 3/17/20
According to median age statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, Montana is the oldest (“grayest”) state west of the Mississippi. As of 2017, 18 percent of Montanans were 65 or older, up from 14 percent in 2001, and by 2030 that number is expected to reach 22 percent: that’s more than one in five Montanans, pretty striking when you think about it. Why? There are several factors, including longer life spans and a large number of baby boomers reaching seniority at once, reports the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The increase will strain healthcare services in coming years, reduce workforce numbers and impact both income and property tax collections—the latter, positively. Petroleum County, the state’s least populated, was already at 23 percent who were 65 or older in 2017, a figure expected to jump to 37 percent by 2030. By comparison, those figures were 12 and 15 percent for Gallatin County, respectively. The difference is microcosmic of demographic differences seen in rural and urban counties in the Treasure State.