THE FACTS: The Aging of Illinois’s Population
As the sixth most populated state in the nation, Illinois, often known to outsiders for Chicago, is a truly diverse state, not only in culture and ethnicity, but also in geography. From some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world to the rural country sides producing the agriculture commodities we all depend on, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, Illinois has a varied landscape and dynamic economy.
With all of our diversity, we have one thing in common: Aging. We all are aging from the moment we are born and throughout our lives.
Across Illinois, the population of persons who are age 60 or older continues to grow. In 2019, this age group represented 21% of Illinois’ total population, with 10% of Illinois’ 102 counties age 60+ cohort making up more than 30% of their population and labor force. As manufacturing and other industrial jobs have faded away, many communities across Illinois have suffered, causing many families to move away for better opportunities.
Constricted immigration over the last couple of decades has also reduced the inflow of new Illinoisans and cost the population in terms of people, talent, skills, and the valuable contributions of immigrants.
With these and other trends, Illinois’s population is both shrinking and shifting to a higher percentage of older adults.