Planning for an Aging Society

The Baby Boomers and Baby Boom generation are terms used often not only by demographers but in popular culture, by advertising agencies, and, yes, even by land use planners. But exactly what and who are these Baby Boomers?

Baby Boomers are individuals born between 1946 and 1964 after the end of World War II. An increase in birth rates created a boom of babies during this time. Growing up in a relatively prosperous time with greater access to disposable income and automobile travel, these Baby Boomers changed the nation. Past generations of Americans included many members who never obtained drivers licenses and relied on public transportation. In 2011, the first Boomers started turning 65 years of age and for the next 15 years, between 7,000 and 10,000 members of this group will keep turning 65 in the United States each day.

How will the aging of these Boomers affect the places where we live or perhaps more appropriately, how will the places that we live accommodate these aging individuals?

Over my next few blog posts, I hope to explore the relationship between the environments in which we live and how they influence people of all ages in general and older adults specifically. Many planners are becoming more interested planning for an aging society. The City of Portland joined the World Health Organization's Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities in 2011, and Portland City Council adopted an Action Plan for an Age-friendly Portland in October of 2013. As the Baby Boom is upon us, the time is now to consider the needs of older individuals. After all, I think all of us hope to make older adulthood.