Thursday, December 11, 2008

Aging = Disability

I’m not so sure that people realize that along with aging comes disability. I think it goes along with people being in denial of their own vulnerability. They just don’t want to think about having a disability... until it’s too late.

Let’s face it. We’re all getting older, and at some point some of us will wind up with some sort of serious disability. All of us “baby boomers” will be competing for limited resources to help us stay in our homes. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee on this issue.

I found some interesting statistics on the Roseburg News Review which inspired me to write this post...

Douglas County is growing older but is also becoming somewhat more diverse, according to the results of a new three-year study by the U.S. Census Bureau.

More than a quarter of the county’s 103,656 residents are now age 60 or older. Since 2000, the percentage of residents who fit into that category has risen to 25.3 percent from 23.1 percent.

At the same time, the percentage of county residents younger than 20 has fallen more than 3 points, from 26.6 percent to 23.2 percent.

The median age for Douglas County residents is 43.4, up from 41.2 in 2000. Statewide, the median age is 37.6.

For the state of Oregon as a whole, 17.8 percent of the population is 60 or older, and 25.8 percent is 19 or younger. Nationally, 17.2 percent of Americans fit into the older category and 27.6 percent are teens or younger.

The estimates provided by the American Community Survey were gleaned from surveys taken in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The surveys, which are now taken yearly, replace the long forms sent out previously to a sampling of census respondents.

The survey asks a variety of questions on income, marital status, the number of children respondents have and the type of residence they have. It also asks questions on how many cars they drive, how long it takes them to get to work and whether they have served in the armed forces or have a disability.

While Douglas County residents are overwhelmingly Caucasian — at 91 percent of the population — the Hispanic population rose more than 23 percent between 2000 and 2007. The number has increased from 3,283 to 4,042, or 3.9 percent of the county population.

Mexico is the source of the largest group of Hispanics, 3,099. Another 275 residents are natives of Puerto Rico and 154 originally came from Cuba.

American Indians make up the second-largest ethnic group, although that number has decreased by 281 since 2000. There are now 1,249 American Indian residents in Douglas County.

The number of Asian residents rose nearly 74 percent, from 628 in 2000 to 1,092. Among different Asian groups, the number from India rose the most, from 54 to 308. There are also 308 Koreans residing in the county, tying with Indians for the largest groups of ethnic Asians.

The per capita income in Douglas County is $20,324, up from $16,581 in 2000. The statewide figure is $25,097.

The median income for a man working full time in Douglas County is $36,902, up from $32,512 in 2000. For a woman, it’s $25,567, up from $22,349. Statewide, the average man makes $42,676, while the average woman earns $33,017.

The percentage of Douglas County residents who have a high school diploma or a GED rose from 81 percent in 2000 to 84.6 percent. Statewide, 87.5 percent of Oregonians have finished high school.

The percentage of county residents with a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree increased from 13.3 percent in 2000 to 14.7 percent. Still, that number lags behind the statewide average of 27.6 percent.

A total of 5,823 county residents have earned an associate degree. That’s 7.9 percent of the population, up from 6.5 percent in 2000.

The percentage of Douglas County residents who served in the armed forces declined from 20 percent in 2000 to 17 percent. However, the percentage is still above the statewide figure of 12.5 percent.

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