
 Age Dependency RatiosThe age dependency ratio expresses the relationship between three age groups within a population: ages 015, 1664 and 65plus. Higher values indicate a greater level of agerelated dependency in the population. In WISH, the "dependent population" is defined as people ages 015 and 65plus, while the "working age population" is defined as people between ages 16 and 64. This is consistent with the definition used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are three types of age dependency ratio. The youth dependency ratio is the population ages 015 divided by the population ages 1664. The oldage dependency ratio is the population ages 65plus divided by the population ages 1664. The total age dependency ratio is the sum of the youth and oldage ratios. All three ratios are commonly multiplied by 100 and WISH follows this convention. As an example, the chart below shows dependency ratios for 2011 by Hispanic ethnicity in Wisconsin. The total dependency ratio for nonHispanics is 51.6, slightly lower than the total of 52.4 for Wisconsin. The total dependency ratio for Hispanics is higher, at 66.0. The youth and oldage dependency ratios differ dramatically between the Hispanic and nonHispanic populations. The Hispanic youth dependency ratio of 60.7 is much higher than the nonHispanic ratio of 29.5, while the Hispanic oldage dependency ratio of 5.2 is much lower than the nonHispanic ratio of 22.1. These ratios indicate that while the total age dependency in the Hispanic population is higher compared to nonHispanics, this is entirely due to the relative youthfulness of the Hispanic population.
The total dependency ratio is calculated as: (([Population ages 015] + [Population ages 65plus]) ÷ [Population ages 1664]) × 100 The oldage dependency ratio is calculated as: ([Population ages 65plus] ÷ [Population ages 1664]) × 100 The formula for the youth dependency ratio is: ([Population ages 015] ÷ [Population ages 1664]) × 100 It is important to note that these definitions do not take into account labor force participation rates by age group. Some portion of the "dependent" population may be employed and not necessarily economically dependent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics addresses this through a related measure, the economic dependency ratio, which includes surveybased estimates of labor force participation rates by age group. Economic dependency ratio (exit DHS) Age dependency ratios by state: 2000 and 2010 (exit DHS, PDF, 56 KB)
Last Revised: November 28, 2012
