Iowa’s population has more elderly people than even some of the states well-known for their retired residents. Beth Henning, coordinator of the state Data Center program at the State Library of Iowa, says the Sunshine State is known for its retirees, but she looks closer at the numbers and how they’re divided into age categories.
Florida is high in the number of residents 65 and over, but then the numbers drop down when they reach age 85 and over. Henning says people may go to Florida when they’re in the “young old category,” but they move somewhere else when they’re getting into the “old-old” category, possibly back to where their families are.
Census data recently released by the federal government finds Iowa near the top in elderly residents. Two and-a-half percent of Iowa’s population is 85 years of age or older, compared to Connecticut with the same percent, North Dakota with two – point-7 percent, Rhode Island two-point-6, and Pennsylvania also a tie at two and-a-half percent. She says Iowa’s third among those states for the ratio of “old-old” residents over the age of 85.
Ninety-one-percent of the population in Iowa is categorized as “white non-Hispanic,” but four states have a higher percentage. A few years ago the census found Iowa was the “whitest” state in the nation.