In 2014, the last of the Baby Boomers will turn 50. As this baby boom ages, the number of New Yorkers coming into traditional retirement age will continue to rise over the next decade. Recognizing this demographic shift will present opportunities and challenges for New York State, AARP New York commissioned a statewide survey of 50+ voters to understand their experiences and ask their opinions on issues of importance.
The results of this survey are included in a report entitled State of the 50+ in New York State which was released in September 2014. Six additional reports for select counties or regions in New York will be made available throughout the month of October 2014 on the following schedule:
- State of the 50+ in New York State – available September 8, 2014
- State of the 50+ in Erie County, New York – available October 7, 2014
- State of the 50+ in Monroe County, New York – available October 8, 2014
- State of the 50+ in Onondaga County, New York – available October 9, 2014
- State of the 50+ in the Capital Region of New York – available October 15, 2014
- State of the 50+ in Dutchess County, New York – available October 15, 2014
- State of the 50+ in Long Island, New York – available October 27, 2014
Report Summary, State of the 50+ in New York State
All across the U.S. and in New York State, the combination of increased life expectancy and an aging baby boom generation is driving a very fast growing 65+ population. Based on an AARP analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, over 500 New York State residents are expected to turn 65 every day in the coming years. In 2010, one in seven people living in The Empire State were aged 65 and over; by 2035 it is projected to be nearly one in five. This population shift toward a longevity society brings both opportunities and challenges, including a more experienced work force coupled with family caregiving needs, gaps in traditional retirement security, and increased demand for age-friendly community services and supports.
As people age they almost universally want to stay in their homes and communities. But, contrary to their preference, residents are often faced with the reality of securing for themselves a future where affordable, independent living is possible. For some, this results in a decision to relocate. Importantly, the extent to which New York can meet the needs of its 50+ residents now, and as they age, will help reduce the likelihood that they will leave the state in the future. Below are some of the key findings from a May 2014 survey of 50+ voters in New York State about their concerns:
- More than one quarter (27%) of currently working New York State voters age 50+ are not confident they will ever be able to retire.
- Among those who are confident they will retire, six in ten (60%) report they are at least somewhat likely to leave New York State after retiring.
- More than half of 50+ voters in the labor force (56%) say their retirement will be delayed for financial reasons, and more than one-fourth (26%) do not have any access to a retirement savings plan through their employer.
- Half of all 50+ New York State voters (49%) are concerned about being able to afford utility costs in the coming years and half (52%) are concerned about affording property taxes into the future.
- Fifty percent of 50+ New York State voters have been family caregivers in the past five years to an adult spouse or relative, a personal responsibility that impacts day-to-day work schedules, and for some, reduces earning potential.
- 45 percent of New York State 50+ voters believe they or someone they know has experienced some form of workplace age discrimination.
- A majority of 50+ New York State voters say they would be more likely to stay in the state as they age if improvements were made in the areas of health (77%), housing (70%), transportation (66%) and jobs (61%) for older residents.
Voter Support for Proposed Legislation and Elected Officials
- Over three-fourths of New York State 50+ voters (77%) support establishing a state retirement plan.
- When making voting decisions for elected officials, New York State 50+ voters are likely to vote for a candidate that helps New Yorkers have a financially secure retirement (72%), as well as one that ensures New Yorkers can afford to stay in their homes (79%).
- Over seven in ten (72%) New York State 50+ voters do not believe the interests of residential utility customers are represented and taken into consideration when utility rate increases are proposed. Furthermore, seven in ten (70%) do not believe their elected officials are doing enough to help them when home energy costs increase. Almost eight in ten (79%) support creating an independent utility consumer advocate office in New York State.
- A majority of 50+ voters in New York State support legislative proposals to help family caregivers.
- Three-quarters (76%) of New York State 50+ voters are extremely or very likely to vote for a candidate who will work on supporting New Yorkers that provide care at home for an adult loved one who is ill, frail, elderly or disabled.
- Two-thirds (67%) of New York State 50+ voters are extremely or very likely to vote for candidates that would maintain safe and independent mobility around town.
- More than three-quarters (77%) of New York State 50+ voters support legislation that would require new homes built with county or state funds for low-income residents to use Universal Design standards so they are accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
For more information, contact Angela Houghton at firstname.lastname@example.org.