Going Gray?

Austin's population just keeps getting older, shows new data

Austin's population just keeps getting older, shows new data

Ever so slightly, Austin is aging. From 2014 to 2015, the median age of people living in the Austin metro area went from 33.9 to 34.3, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This continues a gradual year-to-year maturing of the region’s population.

“Our growth has long been fueled by big incoming waves of millennials, but more recently our immigration stream is increasingly made up of baby boomers and seniors, which will pull our median age upwards for sure,” says Ryan Robinson, demographer for the City of Austin.

Back in 2011, the metro area’s median age was 32.9, Census Bureau data shows. The median age crept up to 33.1 in 2012 and then to 33.5 in 2013. Now, the median age in the metro area is over 34. The Census Bureau data, released last fall, comes from the annual American Community Survey.

From 2014 to 2015 in the Austin area, the most noticeable trends regarding age involved a small shrinking of the millennial population and a small rise in the senior segment.

Among millennials, the share of 20- to 24-year-old residents declined from 7.4 percent in 2014 to 7.1 percent in 2015. During the same period, the share of 25- to 34-year-olds slipped from 17.5 percent to 17.2 percent.

Toward the other end of the age spectrum, the share of 65- to 74-year-old residents in the region climbed from 5.9 percent to 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, the share of residents age 75 to 84 inched up from 2.5 percent to 2.7 percent.

In February 2016, Forbes identified the Austin area as one of the most rapidly aging metro areas in the U.S. The area’s share of the 65-and-over population grew 16.3 percent from 2010 to 2014. And last fall, the Austin City Council adopted a plan designed to make the city “age-friendly.”

“As more residents are living longer, they have a greater capacity to contribute to our dynamic city,” City Council Member Ann Kitchen says. “An age-friendly and, indeed, age-progressive Austin is our commitment to enhance the lives of all our residents, and to benefit from the contributions of all generations, now and into the future.”

Kitchen sponsored the age-friendly plan.

“Austin has always been considered a young, vibrant and innovative city. Approval of this … plan will help us to maintain that reputation as vibrant and innovative at the same time our median age continues to move upward,” says Sally Van Sickle, a member of the city’s Commission on Seniors.