Aging population, smaller households in region

Share of seniors expected to grow to 18% by 2030

The central Puget Sound region is undergoing a major demographic transformation as baby boomers – people born between 1946 and 1964 – cross into the 65+ category.

The share of seniors is projected to increase steadily to 18% around the year 2030 when the last baby boomer turns 65 and is expected to remain at that level through 2050.

This is a big increase compared to the past several decades when the share of seniors was between 9% and 11%.

Chart titled Regional Population by Age group, showing increasing share of population over 65 years old in central Puget Sound region

Households are getting smaller

The aging trend, in turn, is a key factor behind the projected decline in household size over the coming years.

As baby boomers age and the number of empty nester and one-person households increases, the average persons-per-household (or PPH) ratio – which has held steady over the past several decades – is expected to begin decreasing.

A continuing slowdown in fertility rates also contributes to this trend.

Chart, Persons-Per-Household Ratio, showing a decline in household size

Planning for a rapidly growing older population will involve anticipating and preparing for adequate housing choices, a broad range of transportation options, and access to services and amenities.  

A smaller average persons-per-household ratio will result in greater demand for housing overall, along with higher demand for housing types that meet the needs of smaller households. These will be important demographic trends to consider as the region develops the VISION 2050 plan.