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The Aging of Wisconsin's Population
and the Need for Long Term Care

Growth of the elderly population1

  • In 1980 there were about one half a million people in Wisconsin over the age of 65, by the year 2020 there will be nearly 1 million.
  • The elderly population grew by 22% over the past 20 years. It will grow by another 43% over the next 20.
  • In 2020 1 in 6 people will be age 65 or older.

The group 85 plus, who are most likely to need services, is growing most rapidly

  • The 1960 U.S. Census counted 22,656 Wisconsinites aged 85 and older. In 1990 the number had grown over 200% to 73,487. In 2000 projections indicate an additional 24,000 Wisconsin residents age 85 and older.
  • Between 2000 and 2010 the population age 85 and older is projected to increase an additional 29%.

The needs of older people for long term support2

  • Eighty percent of the adult long term care population are over 65 years of age.
  • Currently it is estimated that 11% of Wisconsinites 65 and older have long term support needs which would allow them to receive care in a nursing home.
  • The likelihood of a need for long term care increases with age.
    • 3% of those 65 to 74 years old need comprehensive long term care
    • 11% of those 75 to 84 years old do so; and
    • 39% of those 85 and older are estimated to be at a nursing home level of care.

11"Wisconsin's Aging Population Approaching the 21st Century: a demographic overview". Profile #4, August 1993, WI Dept. of Health & Social Services, Division of Community Services, Bureau on Aging
2WI Dept. of Health and Family Services Family Care Cost Model 1/99.

Last Revised:  June 20, 2000