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Senior Population Report Available

April 27, 2020 | More News

With increased life expectancy and an aging Baby Boomer cohort, Knox County’s senior population is expected to grow twice as fast as the general population over the next several years.

As the last of the Boomers enter their senior years, the number of people over 60 years of age will increase 30 percent, to more than 125,000, by 2030. With this shift, local communities will have to consider new strategies to accommodate senior needs.

One of the greatest challenges faced by local seniors is housing cost burden. Roughly one third struggle to make ends meet, and more than 45 percent who rent their homes, and 20 percent who own, are cost burdened.

Health-related difficulties also confront Knox area seniors. Their growing numbers mean that demand for long-term care will increase. Currently, about 10,000 local seniors report a disability that keeps them from living independently. While 40 new assisted living facilities are presently proposed or under construction, the cost of these facilities will be prohibitive for many.

Mobility is another major challenge for local senior citizens. Access to resources like doctors’ offices, recreation centers, libraries, and grocery stores, is difficult for seniors who are unable to drive, as transit services are limited to Knoxville city limits. Both the city and Knox County provide several paratransit services, but while the fee per trip is small, it can become expensive for seniors who rely on these services for all of their transportation needs.

Other hurdles include finding adequate health care, covering basic living expenses, and maintaining independent lifestyles. Matching supply to demand will be a priority for local leaders, homebuilders, and service providers in the coming years.

For more information, check out the latest addition to Planning’s Technical Report series: Senior Population in Knox County.