November 29, 2016 – The senior population (adults aged 65 and older) in California is projected to increase more than twofold—from roughly 5 million in 2015 to nearly 12 million in 2060. The demographics of the senior population are also projected to change during this period. For example, the senior population is projected to shift from being majority white to majority nonwhite by 2030. The rapid growth and changing demographics of California’s senior population raise issues about seniors’ long-term supports and services (LTSS) needs, LTSS system capacity, and the financial impact of LTSS on personal and state finances. (LTSS are defined broadly as services and supports provided to the disabled—of any age—who have difficulty performing daily activities.) California-specific projections are necessary to inform the conversation around the future of the LTSS system as California’s senior population grows over the next several decades.

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We project the number of seniors in California with disabilities (as defined by limitations in routine activities of daily living, such as dressing or bathing) will increase from 1 million in 2015 to 2.7 million in 2060. This represents 160 percent growth in the population of seniors with disabilities, while California’s overall senior population is projected to grow by 135 percent over this period.

On average, seniors turning 65 between 2015 and 2019 are projected to live for 23.6 years after age 65 and spend 4.5 of these years with a disability. The average number of years lived with a disability varies based on demographics of the seniors in this cohort. For example, white seniors in this cohort are projected to spend 3.6 years on average with a disability, while Hispanic seniors are projected to spend 5.8 years on average with a disability and nonwhite, non-Hispanic seniors are projected to spend 5.6 years on average with a disability.

This report, an infographic, and a companion video are available using the following link: