What are the young people up to these days?

Much has been made of the living preferences and economic situation of millenials.  In the current economy, most localities can expect to lose almost all of their brightest young people to college towns.  Whether these localities are able to lure these college graduates back is another story, and an important one since (many argue) it’s during the free-and-easy years after college that most young people will start businesses, launch careers, and develop regional networks and allegiances.

In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the people who were in their 20’s during the 2010 census.  That’s people born between 1980 and 1990.  As one might expect, those 80’s babies were reasonably well-distributed when the prior census was taken in 2000.  At this point, the millennials were anywhere from 10 to 19 years old.  There was an uptick in college towns (18 and 19 year-olds), but it wasn’t huge.  In fact, that uptick helps to balance out the number of millenials who were undergraduates during the 2010 census (20 and 21 year-olds).

Ten years later, some of those kids are still in college or graduate school, some are young professionals, some are in the military, some are in prison, and some have young families with several kids.

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Growing number of Virginians with disabilities

We can expect the number of Virginians with disabilities to increase in coming years, leading to increased demands for services such as Social Security Disability or home-health services.  There are for two reasons for this:

  1. Increases in life expectancy.  Disability is much more common at older ages; as people live longer, they will be more likely to live long enough to develop a disability.
  2. Aging Baby Boomers.  The large cohort of Baby Boomers began to turn 65 in 2010; disability rates increase substantially after age 65.  Statewide and nationally, the population 65 and older will grow as the Baby Boomers age.

Since 2008, the American Community Survey, administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, has asked a set of questions to capture six dimensions of disability. The types of disability reported range from sensory disabilities (vision and hearing), difficulty performing self-care tasks such as dressing or bathing, or difficulties performing activities associated with independent living such as shopping or going to the doctor.

The proportion of disabled individuals in Virginia increases dramatically with age, as shown by the graph below.  Fewer than 5 percent of Virginians under the age of 30 report any disabling condition while more than one in three Virginians ages 65 and older report at least one disability.

Disability Rate by Age in Virginia, 2011 ACS

Disability Rate by Age

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