Wake County to have more people aged 60+ than under 18 by 2029

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Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Wake County to have more people 65+ than under 18 by 2029
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Wake County is seeing a shift in its population demographics. The county has 40 percent more people aged 65 and older than it had in 2011.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County is seeing a shift in its population demographics. The county has 40 percent more people aged 65 and older than it had in 2011.

The demographics change is happening at a time when the Triangle is experiencing a housing crisis.

Data shows all 100 counties in North Carolina are seeing growth in their 65 and up population. This is mostly attributed to the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age.

In looking at just Wake County, census data shows since 2011 there's been a 40 percent increase in the 65 and up age group and that group now makes up 12 percent of the population, instead of 8.4 percent it made up in 2011.

In addition to the natural growth of the 65 and older population seen all across the state of North Carolina, Wake County is seeing that age group grow faster than surrounding areas, and people living there had a few reasons to explain why.

It wasn't so long ago Kristen Kramer helped move her then 65-year-old grandmother down to Wake County.

"My grandpa passed away and she was up in New Jersey," she said.

Kramer's grandmother wanted to be closer to family and enjoy some of the perks of southern living such as lower taxes.

"She was like 'wow this is nothing' so she's out in Wake Forest now," said Kramer.

Others who are 65 and older are being lured to the area for different reasons.

"The healthcare's very important," said Fuquay-Varina resident Mark Lintner.

Wake County Commissioner Shinica Thomas said the county is on track to have more residents over the age of 60 than children under 18 by the year 2029.

The shift means there's a need to help seniors find affordable housing options.

More than 160 units at an apartment complex on Spring Forest Road in North Raleigh will soon become available and there are other spots in the pipeline.

"Since 2019, we have committed funding for 951 new affordable rental units specifically targeted for seniors," said Wake Equitable Housing and Community Development Division Director Mark Perlman.

Wake's Elderly and Disabled Rehabilitation grant program is also providing relief. People 62 and older, who are earning 50 percent of the median income or below, can access funds through the grant program.

Seniors can get up to $20,000 for things like roof repairs or an HVAC replacement.

The program allows those in their golden years to spend less time stressing about money and focus more of their energy on spending time with loved ones.

"Raleigh's more family oriented than wherever I lived, never seen it like this place," said Lintner.

"My mom, dad, my brothers were all here. She's now down here with us and it's awesome," said Kramer.

County officials said they are working with developers right now to create additional affordable housing units specifically for the growing older population.

"We may see more developers looking to create senior housing. I think our development partners are keenly aware of the needs in this space, so we continue to be available to support them in meeting those needs," said Perlman.