'Silver Tsunami’ Rolls On Mightily As Many 20-Somethings Get Priced Out Of The City
In 2010, 20- to 24-year-olds made up nearly 8.5 percent of the regional population. At the time, it was the second-largest age cohort in the region, bested only by 25- to 29-year-olds, which made up 8.6 percent of the population then. As a result of the region-wide declines in this population, 20- to 24-year-olds now make up about 7 percent of the regional population. This decline of 1.5 percent was the steepest drop in the share of the regional population for any age group.
Lila Valencia, Austin-based senior demographer with the Texas State Demography Center, hypothesized that shifting patterns in student housing and the rising cost of housing in general may be forcing the region’s youngest adults to live further afield. “You may be a student at UT-Austin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are living there. You might be living at your parents address and you don’t live in Travis County, you could be living in the smaller cities in the area.” Valencia said. “Also, this is a relatively young age group to be considering, in terms of building families, but they are starting to have to move out of their home and get their own place. Even if their job is based here in Austin, they may feel they need to move to a place farther out to be able to afford a place on their own.” Meanwhile, Austin is generally getting older. All age groups under 24 shrank as a share of the population. In addition to the steep declines in 20- to 24-year-olds, the share of population under five years old shrank by 0.8 percent, the second-largest decline among age groups in the region — though kids under five grew in sheer number by approximately 8,000 residents. Austin, as a whole, seems to be less fertile than it used to be. Separate data from the Census Bureau shows the annual birth rate has dropped from 66 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 50 in 2005 to 41 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 50 in 2015. The region also saw modest increases in the share of the population claimed by 25- to 44-year-olds and modest declines in the share of the population claimed by 45- to 54-year-olds. But if there’s any slice of Austin’s age demographics that’s growing, it’s senior citizens, who are creating what's termed a "silver tsunami." Every single age group above 55 saw their share of the regional population expand. Further, those over 60 were the only age groups to increase their shares of the population in every single county in the Austin area. This has pushed up the median age in the region from 32 to 33.6 over the past six years.
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