Here’s some interesting news that will affirm the fact we’re gaining senior supremacy. The government’s current census data suggests that in fewer than two decades, the United States will join the list of other nations with the highest population of seniors. What’s more, by the year 2034, seniors will outnumber children in the U.S.

According to that report from the U.S. Census Bureau, middle-aged individuals already outnumber children in this country. However in 2034 — a year earlier than previously projected — older adults will outnumber children when it comes to population size. People age 65 and over are expected to reach 77 million, while children under the age of 18 will number 76.5 million.

The report goes on to state, “This demographic transformation caused by a rapidly aging population is new for the United States, but not for other countries. Japan has the world’s oldest population, where more than one in four people are at least 65 years old. Already, its population has started to decline and, by 2050, it is projected to shrink by 20 million people.

“Europe is headed down the same demographic path. Some countries in Western Europe have populations that are older than the U.S., notably Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Countries in Eastern Europe are even further along, and, within a few years, many of their populations are projected to begin shrinking.

“Higher fertility and more international migration have helped stave off an aging population, and the country has remained younger as a result. But those trends are changing. Americans are having fewer children, and the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s has yet to be repeated. Fewer babies, coupled with longer life expectancy, equals a country that ages faster.”

Naturally then, it’s important that cities and communities are prepared to provide services for these older adults. The 2019 Senior Living Report from Caring.com ranks the best and worst cities for seniors to live based on health care, housing options, community engagement, transportation, quality of life and workforce development.

Here in Tennessee, Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis received individual rankings. They came in at 80, 132 and 268, respectively. Nationwide, San Francisco; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Washington D.C.; Boston and Brooklyn were listed among the Top 10 senior-friendly cities.

None of the cities in Blount County were large enough to be tallied in this survey, but in my opinion, we would have ranked very high. I believe our doctors, medical facilities and social service agencies are outstanding, to say the least. We live among very caring and capable people and that should be obvious to us all every day.

I suspect that many of you might feel the same.

A nice note from a reader

I always appreciate what readers write in response to our Senior Survival columns. I wanted to share one particular note that I received last week in response to my column about the upcoming increases in our Social Security checks and the need to get things done.

“Thank you, again, for an insightful and enjoyable column,” The reader wrote. “The facts about Social Security, intertwined with the finite nature of our time on this earth and the ‘how to prioritize’ piece works well in my opinion to point us seniors towards getting things done and not lolly-gagging through our years.

“I look at this creation we live in every day and am amazed I get to live here. I do the chores ... kinda. I use my gifts to help someone or get something done to help.

I play. Outside / inside / with family / alone. I read.

“As always, Sundays with The Daily Times’ Senior Survival column makes for a great day and a path to another area of thinking. Keep in the back of your mind how much good you are sharing.”

Well, suffice it to say that that letter made my day. I always welcome any feedback U.S. Census Bureau — good or bad — about the column and I’m happy to share your responses with others. What’s more, if you have any suggestions about what you would like to read in Senior Survival, please let me know.

After all, this column is meant to be a positive advocate for our seniors, and also to affirm our worth and relevance. It is, after all, all about us.

We’ve earned it!

Lee Zimmerman is a Maryville resident and longtime freelance music writer, reviewer, critic and blogger. Email: lezim@bellsouth.net.

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