Scott Wedel: Editorial on seniors based on false assumption |

Scott Wedel: Editorial on seniors based on false assumption

The editorial writers when musing about local aging trends apparently failed to read the source study.

The editorial’s statement “According to the study, based on the share of new arrivals who are moving into Steamboat” is simply not stated within the study. The study stated, “While senior domestic migration data is not readily available” when explaining that the study was looking at changes in a community’s age profile without determining the root causes of the shifts.

Thus, the study makes no attempt to determine if the increase is due to elderly people moving to a community or due to the community existing population aging.

A basic analysis of census data for Steamboat clearly reveals the reason we have a big increase in those over 65 is because we previously had an abnormally small portion of older people, and now, we have larger groups reaching 65, plus as they age.

Census data of 2000, 2010 and 2016 show a clear pattern of a local population heavily skewed to under 55 in 2000. In 2010, we were heavily skewed to under 65. Predictably, the 2016 census data shows a big increase locally for those 65 to 69 as, finally, a larger group reaches that age.

There is no major influx of older people. The number of people 65 to 69 in 2016 is 8 percent less than the number of those 60 to 64 in 2010. That is within the range of error of being typical.

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What has happened is that between 1990 and 2000, presumably largely due to the internet allowing working and shopping remotely, the rate of residents leaving as they aged was greatly reduced to be comparable to that of a normal community.

Scott Wedel

Steamboat Springs