Bay Watch – Aging Population

Bay Watch: A Weekly Look into the Bay Area Economy

June 2nd, 2023

Bay Area aging faster than ever before

Last week, we wrote about significant racial demographic shifts with data from the latest 2020 Census release. This week, we dive deeper into the Bay Area’s aging population – as the region experiences an exodus of young people from the region, and many retirees choose to stay. The region’s 75+ residents now account for nearly 7% of the region’s population, a higher share than any of the previous 5 censuses (dating back to 1970). In terms of overall numbers, the number of residents aged 60+ saw the most dramatic increases, while the number of young children was the only category to see a population decline from the last census.

The region’s housing affordability crisis, paired with a largely permanent hybrid/remote work has contributed to large swaths of young professionals leaving the region. Domestic out-migration remains a major problem and contributor to the region’s population loss. If it weren’t for positive foreign immigration and net births, the region would have lost 111,000 people in 2022. In contrast, retirees, many of whom may already own their homes, are choosing to stay for quality of life, established social networks, and high quality access to healthcare services.