The U.S. is expected to become both older and more diverse in the coming decades, with the elderly and Hispanics in particular taking up a greater proportion of the population.
For a sense of how things will change where you live, take a look at this interactive graphic from the Urban Institute. Choose rates for birth, death, and migration levels (low, average, and high) and map the results for 2020 and 2030. It’s pretty interesting.
It’s striking how much older some places could become, even at average birth, death, and migration rates. Take Raleigh, North Carolina. Its 65-and-over population is set to rise 151%. Or Albuquerque, New Mexico: its elderly cohort is forecast to jump 111%.
“The rates are all reasonable assumptions, based on historical trends,” says the report’s introduction. “In other words, it won’t show a future where no children are born and no one dies, but we could imagine a future where people move around more or birthrates fall by 20%. With the tool, people can explore several possible ‘what-if’ scenarios—possible futures—and see how they’ll play out across the country.”
Because Hispanics have higher birth rates than other groups today, their population is expected to grow by 30% to 40% in much of the country (represented in blue and dark blue). Only New Mexico and parts of the upper Midwest buck the trend. At the same time, the white population is expected to decline as a share of the population in most places, with the exception of the lower East Coast and the parts of the West.
The size and makeup of a regional population affects all kinds of planning decisions. Fewer people translates to less housing demand and lower revenue generation through property taxes. More people means a greater strain on transit, roads, and water resources. More elderly people means more demand for health care. And so on.
By 2030, America could be quite a different place from now, though factors like climate change, immigration policy, and health technology could yet affect how things turn out.