Ken Gronbach, Demographer

My wife and I moved to Florida full time a couple of years ago. We live in a wonderful waterfront condo on the Gulf side. It’s everything we thought it would be. Sunshine, beaches, pool, wonderful restaurants, excellent healthcare, excellent churches, boating, shopping, convenient airports, entertainment, and a ton of Baby Boomers our age to hang out with. So, what’s not to love? That is the point. The early adopting Baby Boomers, the first wave, love it here. However, the peak of the Baby Boomers, born 1957 to 1963, are not here yet, but they are definitely coming. And when they do, they will add about 10,000,000 to Florida’s 23,000,000 population over the next ten years.

I just spoke at The Florida Public Pension Trustee Association Annual Conference in Orlando. What a distinguished group. They protect and enhance the pension funds for Florida’s Fire Fighters, Police, and State Employees pro-bono. They take their work very seriously. My keynote was titled “Demography is Destiny.” I shared the changing demography of Florida, The United States, The Americas, and the world. The rapt audience was very sober, but I really wasn’t telling them anything that they didn’t already intuitively know about Florida. It begs the question. How will Florida handle a fifty percent increase in its population? How much pressure is this population tsunami going to put on Florida’s state services?

It is estimated that Baby Boomers, born 1945 to 1964, control over $100 trillion in assets. That’s trillion with a T. (A trillion is a thousand billion) The United States Gross Domestic Product is about $22 trillion. So, the influence of Baby Boomers, now 59 to 78 years old, on the U.S. concept of senior and elderly, will be profound throughout the U.S. And not just in Florida. The Generation in front of the Boomers is the Silent Generation, born 1925 to 1944, aged 79 to 98. The Silent Generation is small, only about 50 million of them were born compared to the Baby Boomers estimated 80 million live births. So, the change in critical mass of senior and elderly is huge. In addition, Baby Boomers are, and will be, living longer than the Silent Generation because of advanced healthcare and nutrition. So, what is the net effect? The senior and elderly population in the United States is about to double. Is the United States ready? No.

The United States will truly become a nation of Floridas as the Baby Boomers age into senior and elderly status. State government officials would be wise to visit Florida to prepare for what’s next. Healthcare, eldercare and deathcare are totally underserved throughout the U.S.. The Silent Generation died at the rate of about 2.5 million per year, Boomers will increase that rate dramatically.

So, is your state ready for this age wave? Probably not. However, I believe we will adjust, we always do. We live in the best nation on earth, and we have a very unique ability to adapt. We are truly a nation of immigrants, the best and brightest from around the world. God Bless America!