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How will the growing number of seniors impact the region?

Many seniors need affordable housing. According to the Census Bureau, in 2000 there were nearly 215,000 households in Los Angeles headed by a person age 65 or older. Of these households, 40 percent had incomes below $20,000 a year and could only afford between $250 and $500/month for rent or mortgage payments. Over 43,000 Los Angeles residents age 65 and older had incomes at or below the federal poverty level -- $9,310 for an individual and $12,490 for a two people.

The number of seniors is skyrocketing. The baby boom generation, those born in the 18 years between 1946 and 1964, has been moving through the population age structure like the elephant through the boa in St. Exupery's story, "The Little Prince." This population will start hitting age 60 in 2006 and from then on there will be large increases in the proportion of the population who are 60 and older. While only 14 percent of California's population is at least 60, by 2010 the proportion will rise to one in five Californians.

According to the California Department of Aging, the number of people age 60 and older was 4.9 million in 2000 and will rise to 12.5 million by 2040. The oldest part of the population, those age 85 and older, is expected to increase six-fold. This age group will grow from 300,000 in 1990 to 1.7 million people statewide in 2040.

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