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Report - February 2019

New York’s Older Adult Population is Booming Statewide

Over the past decade the number of New Yorkers ages 65 and over increased by 26 percent, making up a larger share of the state’s population than ever before.This data analysis provides a new level of detail about the aging of the population in cities and counties across New York State and finds that the aging population is not only driving population growth statewide, but is more diverse than ever before.

By Christian González-Rivera, Jonathan Bowles, and Eli Dvorkin

Tags: aging older new yorkers older adults seniors

From Saratoga to Suffolk County, the Empire State is graying. There are now more residents aged 65 and older in New York State—3.2 million—than the entire population of 21 states. Today, nearly one in six New Yorkers is 65 and above (16 percent), a larger share of the state’s population than ever before.

This data analysis provides a new level of detail about the aging of the population in cities and counties across New York State. Our analysis finds that older adults are the fastest-growing segment of the population statewide. Over the past decade, the number of New Yorkers ages 65 and over increased by 647,000, or 26 percent. During the same period, the state’s overall population grew by just 3 percent. There are now more New Yorkers ages 65 and older statewide than there are children under the age of 13.

The boom in older adults is occurring in nearly every corner of the state, with the biggest increases over the past decade in Saratoga County (which experienced a 55 percent spike in the number of older adults), and Orange County (40 percent increase), and Dutchess County (36 percent increase). Indeed, the growth of the older adult population is outpacing overall population growth in all of the state’s 20 largest cities and counties, including Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers, Albany, and New York City. Today, New Yorkers ages 65 and above account for a whopping 19 percent of the population in Ulster and Sullivan Counties and 18 percent of the population in Erie, Nassau, Niagara, and Saratoga counties.

With New Yorkers across the state living longer than ever before, the population ages 85 and above is also booming.1 Overall, the number of 85-plus New Yorkers has also increased 26 percent since 2007, going from 353,299 to 444,005. The greatest increase was in Dutchess County (which saw an 80 percent increase in the 85-plus population), followed by Orange County (65 percent increase), Suffolk County (56 percent increase), and Jefferson and Lewis Counties (53 percent increase).

New York State’s aging population is more diverse than ever

We also find that New York’s older adult population is more diverse than ever. The number of older immigrants statewide is growing at nearly double the rate of U.S.-born older adults, increasing 41 percent compared to 21 percent since 2007. Outside New York City, the older immigrant population in the state has increased by 37 percent, compared to a 25 percent increase in the U.S.-born older adult population. In New York City, the older immigrant population has grown even faster, increasing 42 percent over the past decade. Ten years ago, 25 percent of the state’s older adult population was foreign-born, compared to 28 percent today.

Over the past decade, the population of older immigrants has more than doubled in Ulster and Sullivan Counties (107 percent increase), followed by Jefferson and Lewis (89 percent increase), Rockland County (77 percent increase), Bronx County (67 percent increase), and Albany County (56 percent increase).

At the same time, New York’s U.S.-born older adults are increasingly likely to be African American, Latinx, or Asian. Today, nearly one-third (31 percent) of U.S.-born older adults in the state are non-white, a share that has increased from 26 percent ten years ago. Over the past decade, the number of African American residents ages 65 and above doubled in Dutchess County (100 percent increase) and Schenectady (104 percent increase), and more than tripled in Rensselaer County (217 percent increase).

The number of Latinx residents ages 65 and above more than doubled in Queens County (106 percent increase), Dutchess County (119 percent increase), Nassau County (130 percent increase), and Orange County (133 percent increase, and nearly tripled in Buffalo (170 percent increase), Westchester County (175 percent increase), Rockland County (177 percent increase), and Staten Island (190 percent increase). Yonkers registered the fastest-growing older Latinx population of any city or county in the state, more than tripling since 2007 (201 percent increase).

Over the past decade, the number of Black older adults has grown faster than the older white population in five of the state’s six major cities—except Yonkers—and in 11 of the 14 major counties outside of New York City: Rensselaer, Schenectady, Dutchess, Niagara, Rockland, Albany, Suffolk, Nassau, Orange, Westchester, and Erie. The number of Latinx older adults has outpaced that of the older white population in four of the state’s major cities and in eight counties outside New York City: Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Nassau, Dutchess, Suffolk, Erie, Schenectady, Albany, and Ulster and Sullivan.

Population Change of U.S. Born Older Adults by Race and Ethnicity, 2007-2017

 

Nearly 1 in 7 older New Yorkers is living in poverty, with higher rates for African American, Latinx, Asian American, and immigrant older adults

As New York’s older adult population grows, the number living in poverty has increased. The number of older adults in poverty increased from 401,488 in 2007 to 443,941 today—an 11 percent increase. However, this analysis also finds that the total poverty rate among older New Yorkers has declined by 2 percent statewide since 2007—from 16 percent in 2007 to 14 percent in 2017.

A closer look at older adult poverty statewide finds that some populations and regions of the state are experiencing poverty rates significantly above the statewide average. U.S.-born Latinx New Yorkers 65 and older are experiencing the highest rates of older adult poverty, at 26 percent. Asian American older adults have the second-highest poverty rate, at 22 percent, followed by African American older adults at 19 percent. The poverty rate for older immigrants is 20 percent statewide. Rochester has the highest older adult poverty rate of any city or county we examined, at 31 percent. The cities with the next-highest poverty rates for older adults are New York City and Buffalo at 20 percent and Syracuse at 18 percent.

Although poverty rates have declined slightly over the past decade across all demographics, in some areas of the state, the older adult poverty rate is increasing. Schenectady County registered the sharpest increase in older adult poverty, going from 7 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2017, and the number of poor older adults the county has nearly doubled from 1,555 to 3,006. In the Bronx, the older adult poverty rate has increased from 26 percent to 28 percent, and the borough’s poor older adult population has swelled by 13,585 people over the past decade. The total number of older adults in poverty increased sharply in several other cities and counties, including Rochester (38 percent increase), Suffolk County (33 percent increase), Dutchess County (28 percent increase), and Nassau County (22 percent).

Among older immigrants, poverty rates have increased in several parts of the state, including Erie County, where the poverty rate among older immigrants has gone from 10 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2017; Suffolk County, where it has gone from 6 percent to 12 percent; Rockland (11 to 14 percent), the Bronx (25 to 28 percent), and Nassau (7 to 9 percent).

To meet the needs of New York State’s booming older adult population, Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature will need to make investing in older adult services a top priority statewide. With older New Yorkers driving population growth statewide, the state will have to do more to support comprehensive and effective older adult services in the years ahead.

At the same time, local officials in cities and counties across New York should be doing more to plan for the aging of their populations and make sure new programs and policies are in place to ensure older adults can thrive across multiple generations.

To produce this report, the Center for an Urban Future analyzed data from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. This analysis includes 20 cities and counties in New York State for which detailed data was available, including the state's six largest cities and 14 of its largest counties. Some counties are combined due to data availability limitations. Parts of this report separate New York City into its constituent counties to provide a borough-level analysis.

The following are findings for each of the state’s major regions:

Capital Region
Saratoga County

  • Saratoga County experienced a 55 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, making it the fastest-growing older adult population in the state.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the county increased by 14,300—from 26,055 in 2007 to 40,355 in 2017.
  • This growth has been driven by Saratogans ages 65 to 84; the population ages 85 and above declined 16 percent during the same period.
  • Older adults now account for 18 percent of the county’s overall population, up from just 12 percent a decade ago.
  • The under-65 population of the county, meanwhile, has remained flat over the past ten years.
  • Immigrants make up 5 percent of the county’s older adult population, down from 6 percent a decade ago.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Saratoga County increased by 3 percent—from 3,366 in 2007 to 3,451 in 2017.

Albany County

  • Albany County experienced a 23 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the county increased by 9,348—from 40,598 in 2007 to 49,546 in 2017.
  • The number of residents ages 85 and above increased 18 percent—from 5,800 to 6,856.
  • Older adults now account for 16 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 14 percent a decade ago.
  • Immigrants make up 14 percent of the county’s older adult population, up from 11 percent a decade ago, and the number of foreign-born older adults increased at a faster rate (56 percent) than U.S.-born older adults (19 percent) over the past decade.
  • Albany County’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 10 percent non-white, up from 8 percent in 2007.
  • Albany County experienced an 18 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 5,800 in 2007 to 6,856 in 2017.
  • In Albany County, 9 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 2 percentage point decline over the past decade. Currently 4,335 older adults live in poverty in the county.

Albany (City)

  • The city of Albany experienced a 10 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the city increased by 1,303—from 13,082 in 2007 to 14,385 in 2017.
  • This growth has been driven by residents ages 65 to 84; the population ages 85 and above declined 11 percent during the same period.
  • Older adults now account for 13 percent of the city’s overall population, the same share as in 2007.
  • Immigrants make up 19 percent of the city’s older adult population, up from 14 percent a decade ago. The city’s older immigrant population swelled by 46 percent over that time.
  • The city’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 23 percent non-white, up from 17 percent in 2007.
  • The city’s Black older adult population has grown 89 percent over the past decade, while the city’s white older adult population has shrunk 3 percent.
  • In the city of Albany, 11 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 6 percentage point decline over the past decade. Currently 1,637 older adults live in poverty in the city.

Rensselaer County

  • Rensselaer County experienced a 32 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, compared to a 1 percent decline in the population under 65.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the county increased by 6,525—from 20,471 in 2007 to 26,996 in 2017.
  • This growth has been driven by residents ages 65 to 84; the population ages 85 and above declined 3 percent during the same period.
  • Older adults now account for 17 percent of the city’s overall population, up from 13 percent in 2007.
  • Immigrants make up 4 percent of the city’s older adult population, down from 5 percent a decade ago.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 7 percent non-white, up from 3 percent in 2007.
  • The county’s African American older adult population increased faster than any other county in the state, growing 217 percent over the past decade—from 373 in 2007 to 1,181 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Rensselaer County increased by 3 percent—from 2,712 in 2007 to 2,790 in 2017.

Schenectady County

  • Schenectady County experienced a 13 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade—the lowest increase among the state’s largest counties.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the county increased by 2,931—from 23,382 in 2007 to 26,313 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 17 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 16 percent in 2007.
  • Immigrants make up 9 percent of the county’s older adult population, down from 11 percent a decade ago.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 7 percent non-white, up from 4 percent in 2007.
  • The county’s African American older adult population increased 104 percent, going from 629 to 1,286.
  • Schenectady County experienced a 13 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 3,789 in 2007 to 4,287 in 2017.
  • The poverty rate among older adults in Schenectady increased from 7 percent to 11 percent in the past decade.
  • Older adult poverty increased faster in Schenectady County than anywhere else in the state. The number of older adults in poverty in the county jumped up 93 percent, going from 1,555 in 2007 to 3,006 in 2017.

Western New York
Rochester

  • The city of Rochester notched a 36 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, the highest rate of any major city in the state, despite a 2 percent drop in its overall population during the same period.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the city increased by 6,618—from 18,431 in 2007 to 25,049 in 2017.
  • This growth has been driven by residents ages 65 to 84; the population ages 85 and above declined 18 percent during the same period.
  • Older adults now account for 12 percent of the city’s overall population, up from 9 percent a decade ago.
  • Today, 46 percent of Rochester’s U.S.-born older adults are non-white, making Rochester the major city with the most diverse U.S.-born older adult population in the state.
  • Immigrants make up 13 percent of the county’s older adult population, down from 17 percent a decade ago.
  • Rochester’s older adults have the highest poverty rate of any city or county in the state, at 31 percent. This is even higher than the Bronx’s older adult poverty rate of 28 percent.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Rochester increased by an alarming 38 percent—from 5,639 in 2007 to 7,798 in 2017.

Buffalo

  • The city of Buffalo experienced a 2 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, the smallest increase of any city in the state.
  • During that same period, Buffalo’s total population declined 2 percent.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the city increased by 574—from 31,061 in 2007 to 31,635 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 12 percent of the city’s overall population, the same share as a decade ago.
  • Buffalo has the second-most diverse population of U.S.-born older adults in the state; 43 percent of Buffalo’s U.S.-born older adults are non-white.
  • Older African Americans comprise 37 percent of Buffalo’s U.S.-born older adult population—the largest share in the state.
  • Immigrants make up 10 percent of the city’s older adult population, up from 7 percent a decade ago.
  • The number of older immigrants increased 49 percent, while the number of U.S.-born older adults declined by 2 percent.
  • Buffalo is tied with New York City for the second-highest poverty rate among older adults, at 20 percent.
  • Buffalo experienced a 7 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 3,542 in 2007 to 3,799  in 2017.
  • In Buffalo, 20 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 4 percent decline over the past decade. Currently 6,222 older adults live in poverty in the city.

Erie County

  • Erie County saw a 19 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, compared to a 2 percent decline in the population under 65.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the county increased by 25,517—from 136,642 in 2007 to 162,159 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 18 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 15 percent a decade ago.
  • Immigrants make up 8 percent of the county’s older adult population, the same share as a decade ago.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 12 percent non-white, up from 11 percent in 2007.
  • Erie County experienced a 31 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 19,472 in 2007 to 25,595 in 2017. This is the fastest growth rate for the 85-plus population among the cities and counties we analyzed in Western New York.
  • In Erie County, 12 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 2 percentage point decline over the past decade. Currently 19,163 older adults live in poverty in the county.

Niagara County

  • Niagara County experienced a 24 percent increase in its older adult population, compared to a 6 percent decline in the population under 65.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the county increased by 7,429—from 31,371 in 2007 to 38,800 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 18 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 15 percent a decade ago.
  • Immigrants make up 6 percent of the county’s older adult population, down from 8 percent a decade ago.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 6 percent non-white, up from 4 percent in 2007.
  • Niagara County experienced a 20 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 4,678 in 2007 to 5,623 in 2017.
  • In Niagara County, 11 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 3 percentage point decline over the past decade. Currently 4,311 older adults live in poverty in the county.

Hudson Valley

  • Throughout the Hudson Valley, the number of older adults increased by 26 percent while the overall population declined by 2 percent and the under-65 population fell by 5 percent.
  • The number of older adults across the region increased from 303,380 in 2007 to 382,083 in 2017.

Orange County

  • Orange County experienced a 40 percent increase in its older adult population, which is the third-fastest increase of any of the state’s largest counties. In contrast, the under-65 population declined by 3 percent.
  • Overall, the number of older adults in the county increased by 14,894—from 37,600 in 2007 to 52,494 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 14 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 10 percent a decade ago.
  • Immigrants make up 13 percent of the county’s older adult population, the same share as a decade ago.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 15 percent non-white, up from 13 percent in 2007.
  • Orange County experienced a whopping 65 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 4,001 in 2007 to 6,617 in 2017. That’s the second-fastest growth rate for the 85-plus population in the state.
  • In Orange County, 8 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 3 percentage point decline over the past decade. Currently 4,030 older adults live in poverty in the county.

Dutchess County

  • Dutchess County experienced a 36 percent increase in its older adult population, compared to a 4 percent decline in the population under-65.
  • The number of older adults in the county increased by 13,368 during the past decade, from 37,202 to 50,570.
  • Older adults now account for 17 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 13 percent a decade ago.
  • Immigrants make up 13 percent of the county’s older adult population, down from 16 percent a decade ago.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 12 percent non-white, up from 7 percent in 2007.
  • The county’s population of Black older adults has doubled over the past decade, increasing from 1,526 to 3,050.
  • Dutchess County experienced an 80 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, the fastest growth rate of any of the state’s largest cities and counties. The 85-plus population increased from 4,523 in 2007 to 8,141 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Dutchess County increased by 28 percent—from 4,004 in 2007 to 5,114 in 2017.

Rockland County

  • Rockland County registered an increase of 12,551 older adults, a 32 percent increase.
  • The number of older adults jumped from 39,019 in 2007 to 51,570 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 16 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 13 percent a decade ago.
  • Rockland has experienced rapid growth in its population of foreign-born older adults. More than a third are foreign-born (34 percent), up from 25 percent a decade ago.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 15 percent non-white, up from 8 percent in 2007.
  • Rockland County’s population of Latinx older adults has nearly tripled over the past decade, increasing from 773 to 2,140.
  • Rockland County experienced a 46 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 4,758 in 2007 to 6,955 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Rockland County increased by 11 percent—from 4,019 in 2007 to 4,455 in 2017.

Westchester

  • Westchester experienced a 15 percent increase in its older adult population, an increase of 21,646 people. In contrast, the county’s under-65 population declined by 10 percent.
  • Older adults now account for 17 percent of the county’s overall population, up from 13 percent a decade ago.
  • Immigrants make up 29 percent of the county’s older adult population, up from 25 percent a decade ago.
  • The increase in the number of older immigrants is outpacing the growth in the U.S-born older population, growing 30 percent in the last decade compared to 10 percent growth among U.S.-born older adults.
  • The county’s U.S.-born older adult population is growing increasingly diverse. It’s now 18 percent non-white, up from 15 percent in 2007.
  • Westchester County experienced a 27 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 22,527 in 2007 to 28,582 in 2017.
  • In Westchester County, 11 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 2 percentage point decline over the past decade. Currently 17,388 older adults live in poverty in the county.

Yonkers

  • The city of Yonkers experienced a 23 percent increase in its older adult population, with the number of older adults increasing by 6,586—from 28,176 in 2007 to 34,762 in 2017. In contrast, the city’s under-65 population declined by 1 percent.
  • With 17 percent of its population being age 65 and above, Yonkers is the oldest major city in the state.
  • However, this growth has been driven by residents ages 65 to 84; the population ages 85 and above declined 1 percent during the same period.
  • Over the past decade, the share of non-white older adults in Yonkers grew from 16 percent of the population to 26 percent—the largest increase of any major city or county in the state.
  • Latinx older adults led that growth, tripling over the past decade from 982 to 2,951.
  • More than a third of the older adults in Yonkers (35 percent) are foreign-born, and the number of foreign-born older adults increased at a faster rate (27 percent) than native born older adults (21 percent) over the past decade.
  • In Yonkers, 10 percent of older adults live in poverty, half the rate of a decade ago. This 10 percentage point decline is the sharpest decrease in the older adult poverty rate of any major city or county in the state. Currently 3,575 older adults live in poverty in the city.

Ulster & Sullivan

  • Ulster and Sullivan Counties experienced a 35 percent increase in their older adult population, with the number of older adults increasing by 12,296—from 35,451in 2007 to 47,747 in 2017. In contrast, the counties’ under-65 population declined by 7 percent.
  • This growth has been driven by residents ages 65 to 84; the population ages 85 and above declined 2 percent during the same period.
  • Over the past decade, the population of Latinx older adults in Ulster and Sullivan Counties increased 40 percent, going from 812 in 2007 to 1,135 in 2017. The population of white older adults grew 27 percent during the same period.
  • About 15 percent of the older adults in Ulster and Sullivan Counties are foreign-born, and the number of foreign-born older adults increased at a faster rate (107 percent) than native born older adults (27 percent) over the past decade.
  • In Ulster and Sullivan Counties, 9 percent of older adults live in poverty, a 2 percentage point decline over the past decade. Currently 4,506 older adults live in poverty in the counties.

Long Island

  • Long Island’s older adult population increased by 27.9 percent during the past decade, from 379,242 residents aged 65 and over in 2007 to 484,862 in 2017. In contrast, Long Island’s overall population increased by 3.7 percent (from 2,760,505 to 2,862,310) and the under-65 population decreased by 0.1 percent (from 2,381,263 to 2,377,448). 

Nassau County

  • Nassau County experienced a 22 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, with the number of 65-and-over residents increasing by 43,406—from 196,254 in 2007 to 239,660 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 18 percent of the county’s overall population, one of the highest shares in the state.
  • In Nassau County, the population of foreign-born older adults increased much faster than native born older adults: 41 percent over the past decade compared to 16 percent, respectively.
  • Nassau County is now home to more than 65,000 foreign-born older adults. Immigrants now make up 27 percent of the county’s older adult population.
  • The population of non-white older adults expanded much faster than the white population over the past decade. The number of older African Americans in the county grew by 42 percent, from 7,345 in 2007 to 10,448 in 2017, while the U.S.-born Latinx population grew 130 percent (from 2,328 to 5,357 older adults), and the Asian American population increased 71 percent (from 664 to 1,135).
  • Nassau County experienced a 52 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, growing from 25,970 in 2007 to 39,573 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Nassau County increased by 22 percent—from 15,693 in 2007 to 19,120 in 2017.

Suffolk County

  • Suffolk County is now home to nearly a quarter of a million residents 65 and over. It has more older adults than all but three counties in the state (Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan).
  • The county experienced a 34 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade, with the number of older adults increasing by 62,214—from 182,988 in 2007 to 245,202 in 2017. That’s the third-largest increase in older adult population of any county in the state and the largest increase outside of New York City.
  • In contrast, the county’s under-65 population declined by 2 percent.
  • Older adults now make up 16 percent of the overall population in Suffolk County, up from 11 percent in 1990. Only one other major county in the state experienced a larger increase during this period.
  • The number of Latinx older adults grew by 4,637 in Suffolk County, the largest increase in the state outside of New York City.
  • Suffolk County is now home to 38,865 foreign-born older adults. Over the past decade, the number of older immigrants grew at a much faster rate (52 percent) than U.S.-born older adults (31 percent).
  • Immigrants account for 16 percent of all older adults in the county, up from 14 percent a decade ago.  
  • Suffolk County experienced a 56 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 21,709 in 2007 to 33,937 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Suffolk County increased by 33 percent—from 16,834 in 2007 to 22,407 in 2017—the fourth-fastest increase among the state’s major cities and counties, including the five boroughs of New York City.

Northern and Central New York
Syracuse

  • Syracuse experienced a 9 percent increase in its older adult population over the past decade. Although this is a smaller jump than most other parts of the state, it outpaced the city’s overall population growth of just 2 percent.  
  • In Syracuse, the number of older adults increased by 1,355—from 15,755 in 2007 to 17,110 in 2017.
  • This growth has been driven by residents ages 65 to 84; the population ages 85 and above declined 22 percent during the same period.
  • Immigrants now make up 10 percent of the city’s older adult population, up from 9 percent a decade ago.
  • In Syracuse, 22 percent of the city’s older adult population is African American—the fourth-highest share of any city in the state.
  • While the number of white older adults in the city declined by 4 percent, the number of older African Americans swelled by 59 percent, from 2,142 in 2007 to 3,398 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in the city of Syracuse increased by 2 percent—from 3,084 in 2007 to 3,138 in 2017.

Jefferson & Lewis

  • Jefferson and Lewis Counties experienced a 17 percent increase in their older adult population over the past decade, compared to a 4 percent decline in the population under 65.
  • In Jefferson and Lewis Counties, the number of older adults increased by 2,835—from 16,782 in 2007 to 19,617 in 2017.
  • Immigrants make up just 4 percent of the city’s older adult population—up from 2 percent a decade ago—but their growth is outpacing that of U.S.-born older adults. The number of older immigrants in the counties increased by 89 percent, compared to a 15 percent increase among U.S.-born older adults.
  • Jefferson and Lewis Counties experienced a 53 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 2,018 in 2007 to 3,083 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Jefferson and Lewis counties increased by 4 percent—from 1,882 in 2007 to 1,949 in 2017.

New York City
Brooklyn

  • Brooklyn is home to more older adults (357,855) than any other county in the state.
  • The borough’s older adult population increased by 18 percent over the past decade. The number of older adults increased by 53,689—jumping from 304,166 in 2007 to 357,855 in 2017.
  • Older adults now make up 14 percent of the borough’s population, up from 12 percent in 2007.
  • Brooklyn’s growth in its older adult population was driven entirely by the 39 percent growth in the older immigrant population over the past decade. The borough experienced a 3 percent decrease in the U.S.-born older adult population in the same period.
  • Immigrants now account for 206,577 of Brooklyn’s 357,855 older adults, or 58 percent. This is up from 49 percent a decade ago.
  • Brooklyn has the second-lowest share of white older adults of any county in the state, at 49 percent.
  • While the U.S.-born older white population in the borough has declined by 16 percent over the past decade—a decrease of 14,637 people—the African American older adult population has increased 14 percent (an increase of 6,116 people) and the Latinx older adult population increased 12 percent (an increase of 2,665 people).
  • Brooklyn experienced a 10 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 40,969 in 2007 to 45,232 in 2017.
  • Brooklyn was the only New York City borough where the number of older adults living in poverty dropped in the past decade, by 2 percent (from 82,203 in 2007 to 80,596 in 2017). The poverty rate dropped from 27 percent in 2007 to 23 percent in 2017.
  • Currently 80,596 older adults live in poverty in the county, still the largest number of any county in the state.

Queens

  • Queens has the second-largest older adult population of any county in the state, with 353,536 residents ages 65 and over.
  • The borough’s older adult population increased by 22 percent over the past decade. The number of older adults rose by 62,948—from 290,588 to 353,536.
  • Older adults now account for 15 percent of the borough’s population, up from 13 percent a decade ago.
  • In Queens, the foreign-born older adult population increased by 45 percent, while the U.S.-born older adult population declined by 2 percent.
  • Queens has the most diverse older adult population in the state. Fully 60 percent of the older adult population is foreign-born, compared to half of the older adult population citywide and 28 percent of the state.
  • While the U.S.-born white older adult population in the borough has declined by 12 percent over the past decade—a decrease of 12,137 people—the African American older adult population has increased 2 percent (an increase of 739 people), the older Asian American population has increased 111 percent (an increase of 1,003 people), and the U.S.-born Latinx older adult population increased 106 percent (an increase of 8,976 people).
  • Queens experienced a 15 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 43,730 in 2007 to 50,177 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Queens increased by 10 percent—from 51,703 in 2007 to 56,694 in 2017.

Manhattan

  • Manhattan registered the largest jump in older adults of any county in the state between 2007 and 2017, with the number of residents 65 and over increasing by 66,994.
  • The number of older adults in Manhattan increased by 33 percent, going from 200,261 in 2007 to 267,255 in 2017, compared to a 2 percent decline in the population under-65.
  • Older adults now make up 16 percent of the borough’s population, up from 12 percent in 2007.
  • There are more residents ages 65 and above in Manhattan (New York County) than there are people under the age of 19. That is the largest spread of any county in the state, by far.
  • In Manhattan, the U.S.-born older adult population increased by 37 percent, a faster rate than the growth in foreign-born older adults (28 percent).
  • Immigrants currently comprise 35 percent of all older adults in the borough
  • Manhattan led New York City’s growth among white older adults over the past decade. That population grew 47 percent, an increase of 36,680 people.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S.-born Latinx older adult population grew 46 percent, adding 8,078 people.
  • Manhattan experienced a 38 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, the highest percentage and numerical increase in the five boroughs. The borough added 10,626 adults ages 85 and above, increasing from 27,708 in 2007 to 38,334 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in Manhattan increased by 16 percent—from 42,891 in 2007 to 49,816 in 2017.

Bronx

  • The older adult population in the Bronx increased by 26 percent over the past decade.
  • The number of older adults jumped by 38,010, increasing from 144,879 in 2007 to 182,889 in 2017.
  • Older adults now account for 12 percent of the borough’s population, up from 11 percent in 2007.
  • The Bronx has the most diverse U.S.-born older adult population in the state, which is 74 percent non-white.
  • The white older adult population dropped 23 percent over the last decade, the largest decrease of any county in the state.
  • The Bronx has by far the largest share of U.S.-born Latinx older adults in the state, comprising 43 percent of the borough’s U.S.-born older adults.
  • The Bronx registered the second-fastest growth in older immigrants of any county, after Rockland. The number of older immigrants expanded by 67 percent over the past decade compared to just a 5 percent increase in the number of U.S.-born older adults.
  • The Bronx experienced a 28 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 20,617 in 2007 to 26,378 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty in the Bronx increased by 36 percent—from 37,517 in 2007 to 51,102 in 2017. That’s the third-fastest increase of any major city or county in the state, and the fastest increase in New York City.

Staten Island

  • The older adult population on Staten Island increased by 27 percent, compared to a 4 percent decline in the population under-65.
  • The number of older adults in the borough rose by 15,837, from 59,194 in 2007 to 75,031 in 2017.
  • Staten Island is tied with Manhattan as the oldest borough in the city, with 16 percent of Staten Islanders being age 65 and older. The share of the borough’s overall population that is 65 and over increased from 12 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2017.
  • Over the past decade, the U.S.-born older adult population increased by 27 percent and the foreign-born older adult population rose by 25 percent.
  • Today, 26 percent of all older adults on Staten Island are immigrants.
  • While Staten Island’s white older adult population expanded by 20 percent over the past decade, the African American population grew 41 percent, adding 923 people, and the U.S.-born Latinx population grew 190 percent, adding 2,920 people. Staten Island’s Latinx older adult population grew at the second-fastest rate of any major city or county in the state.
  • Staten Island experienced a 17 percent increase in its 85-plus population over the past decade, increasing from 8,006 in 2007 to 9,350 in 2017.
  • The number of older adults in poverty on Staten Island increased by 15 percent—from 9,531 in 2007 to 10,983 in 2017.

Methodology

The Center for an Urban Future analyzed data from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, 2007 and 2017, tabulated using IPUMS. The analysis includes New York State’s six largest cities and 14 of its largest counties for which detailed data is available:  Suffolk County, Nassau County, Westchester County, Erie County, Orange County, Rockland County, Albany County, Dutchess County, Saratoga County, Niagara County, Ulster & Sullivan Counties, Rensselaer County, Schenectady County, and Jefferson & Lewis Counties, as well as New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Syracuse, and Albany. Some counties are combined due to data availability limitations.

1. "U.S. County Profiles", Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, http://www.healthdata.org/us-health/data-download
2. Budget figures from New York State Office for the Aging Budget, 1994-2019. Accessed from https://openbudget.ny.gov/spendingForm-classic.html

Growth of 65+ and 85+ Population in New York State, 2007–2017
Geography65+ Population, 2017Pct. Change 65+, 2007-2017Num. Change 65+, 2007-201785+ Population, 2017Pct. Change 85+, 2007-2017Num. Change 85+, 2007-2017
Albany County49,94623%9,3486,85618%1,056
Bronx County182,88926%38,01026,37828%5,761
Chautauqua County25,80824%4,9903,97915%517
Dutchess County50,57036%13,3688,14180%3,618
Erie County162,15919%25,51725,59531%6,123
Kings County357,85518%53,68945,23210%4,263
Monroe County125,79813%14,16316,1092%272
Nassau County239,66022%43,40639,57352%13,603
New York County267,25533%66,99438,33438%10,626
Niagara County38,80024%7,4295,62320%945
Orange County52,49440%14,8946,61765%2,616
Oswego County18,79842%5,5972,45732%589
Queens County353,53622%62,94850,17715%6,447
Rensselaer County26,99632%6,5253,543-3%-98
Richmond County75,03127%15,8379,35017%1,344
Rockland County51,57032%12,5516,95546%2,197
St Lawrence County18,30619%2,9742,32635%597
Saratoga County40,35555%14,3003,131-16%-601
Schenectady County26,31313%2,9314,28713%498
Suffolk County245,20234%62,21433,93756%12,228
Tompkins County14,5652%2441,401-36%-796
Westchester County163,24715%21,64628,58227%6,055
Onondaga and Cayuga Counties91,09812%9,63212,3097%801
Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties73,7547%4,60810,96418%1,666
Jefferson and Lewis Counties19,61717%2,8353,08353%1,065
Ontario and Yates Counties26,037N/A26,0372,144N/A2,144
Putnam County16,455N/A16,4552,331N/A2,331
Clinton, Franklin, Essex, and Hamilton Counties30,53721%5,3063,627-8%-325
Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties22,58721%3,8652,79926%573
Warren and Washington Counties26,01626%5,3492,409-6%-164
Livingston and Wyoming Counties17,84543%5,3921,903-10%-219
Columbia and Greene Counties23,91233%5,8892,697-20%-691
Genesee and Orleans Counties17,94526%3,7542,22615%286
Fulton and Montgomery Counties19,52018%3,0322,9606%166
Madison and Cortland Counties19,98545%6,1862,61314%311
Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Tioga Counties65,39264%25,6279,33253%3,225
Wayne and Seneca Counties23,07867%9,2612,51054%875
Ulster and Sullivan Counties47,74735%12,2964,798-2%-101
Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler Counties38,708N/A38,7086,717N/A6,717
Albany City14,38510%1,3032,002-11%-244
Buffalo City31,6352%5743,7997%257
New York City1,236,56624%237,478169,47120%28,441
Rochester City25,04936%6,6182,676-18%-593
Syracuse City17,1109%1,3552,224-22%-629
Yonkers City34,76223%6,5865,652-1%-36
New York State3,167,38626%647,045444,00526%90,706
New York's Older Adult Population Is Growing More Diverse
GeographyTOTAL 65+, 2017Foreign-bornU.S.-bornU.S.-Born White Non-HispU.S.-Born Black Non-HispU.S.-Born Asian & Pac. Is., Non-HispU.S.-Born LatinxOther U.S.-Born
Albany County49,9466,98042,96638,8753,193N/AN/A898
Bronx County182,88984,37198,51825,97127,743N/A41,8792,925
Chautauqua County25,80869125,11723,895N/AN/AN/A1,222
Dutchess County50,5706,43544,13538,9443,050N/A1,273868
Erie County162,15913,006149,153131,35914,279N/A2,587928
Kings County357,855206,577151,27874,86148,803N/A24,7662,848
Monroe County125,79815,149110,64996,1219,489N/A3,9691,070
Nassau County239,66065,187174,473156,87710,4481,1355,357656
New York County267,25594,293172,962115,24328,0071,05125,7542,907
Niagara County38,8002,38036,42034,2251,664N/A319212
Orange County52,4946,64645,84838,8393,310N/A3,505194
Oswego County18,79873518,06317,717N/AN/A0346
Queens County353,536213,397140,13987,57431,9001,91017,4361,319
Rensselaer County26,9961,01025,98624,2291,181N/A56115
Richmond County75,03119,17355,85848,1183,170N/A4,458112
Rockland County51,57017,31534,25529,1412,475N/A2,140499
St Lawrence County18,3061,10317,20317,010N/AN/A75118
Saratoga County40,3551,82538,53037,403N/AN/A187940
Schenectady County26,3132,40123,91222,2021,286N/A37054
Suffolk County245,20238,865206,337185,4178,671N/A9,7562,493
Tompkins County14,5651,59112,97412,347N/AN/AN/A627
Westchester County163,24747,108116,13995,18312,871N/A6,9791,106
Onondaga and Cayuga Counties91,0985,70485,39479,3314,629N/AN/A1,434
Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, and Schoharie Counties73,7543,37370,38168,664N/AN/AN/A1,717
Jefferson and Lewis Counties19,61776818,84918,375N/AN/AN/A474
Ontario, Yates Counties26,03750025,53724,482N/AN/AN/A1,055
Putnam County16,4551,90414,55113,692N/AN/AN/A859
Clinton, Franklin, Essex, and Hamilton Counties30,5371,90228,63527,762N/AN/AN/A873
Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties22,58786521,72221,231N/AN/AN/A491
Warren and Washington Counties26,01697025,04624,223N/AN/AN/A823
Livingston and Wyoming Counties17,84562217,22317,007N/AN/AN/A216
Columbia and Greene Counties23,9121,69722,21521,418N/AN/AN/A797
Genesee and Orleans Counties17,94572217,22316,330N/AN/AN/A893
Fulton and Montgomery Counties19,5201,28518,23517,400N/AN/AN/A835
Madison and Cortland Counties19,98543919,54619,221N/AN/AN/A325
Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Tioga Counties65,3923,06762,32560,794N/AN/AN/A1,531
Wayne and Seneca Counties23,0781,13821,94021,240N/AN/AN/A700
Ulster and Sullivan Counties47,7477,26640,48137,9271,239N/A1,135180
Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler Counties38,7081,50837,20035,726N/AN/AN/A1,474
Albany City14,3852,71611,6699,0082,527N/AN/A134
Buffalo City31,6353,29228,34316,02610,459N/A1,681177
New York City1,236,566617,811618,755351,767139,6234,210114,2938,862
Rochester City25,0493,19421,85511,7586,661N/A3,154282
Syracuse City17,1101,64415,46611,3243,398N/AN/A744
Yonkers City34,76212,24222,52016,7512,094N/A2,951724
New York State3,167,386879,9682,287,4181,876,374225,5817,438158,17219,853
NYS Outside NYC1,930,820262,1571,668,6631,524,60785,9583,22843,87910,991

 

Photo Credit: Val Vesa/Unsplashed

This report was generously supported by AARP. The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) has also received support from The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Altman Foundation, and the New York Community Trust for ongoing research on older adult services in New York.