Like the U.S. population overall, the capital region’s population is getting older. Since 1970, the region has seen sharp declines in the share of children under age 18 and young adults ages 18-29, while the share of the population over age 59 has jumped from around 10 percent to nearly 20 percent. And now, as health officials warn that older adults face particularly high risks from COVID-19, changes in the age distribution of the capital region’s population are resulting in a number of important public policy implications. Age may be just a number, but it’s an important one.
On Thursday, May 28, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and George Washington University’s Center for Washington Area Studies (CWAS) co-hosted an event to discuss the area’s changing demographics and explore policy implications for the capital region. The event started with a presentation by CWAS Director Leah Brooks. An expert panel followed, discussing the challenges that an aging population raises for policymakers, such as housing accessibility, school locations and playgrounds, spending patterns, and labor market demands.