These Counties Have the Most American Seniors

Sumter County is the grayest county in the United States, with more than half (52.9%) of its residents are 65 and older, according to new data from Pew Research Center. 

Perhaps not surprisingly the county ranking second in percentage of people who are 65 and older is also in the Sunshine State. In Charlotte County, Fla., the percentage of people 65 and older is 37.7%. Charlotte County is followed by La Paz County in Arizona (36.1%) and Citrus County in Florida (35.2%).

In Florida, 53 of 67 counties have an above-average share of people 65 and older when compared with the percentage of Americans in that demographic, Pew data show.

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On average, a U.S. county’s 65-and-older population grew by 12.4% from 2010 to 2014. 

“Some counties are ‘aging’ much more rapidly than others,” Pew Research says in the study. “Several counties in Colorado are among them. Douglas County, Colo., just south of Denver, led the nation with a 53.7% increase in the 65-and-older group from 2010 to 2014. Two other Colorado counties, Routt, on the Wyoming border, and Elbert, southeast of Denver, rounded out the top three, with growth rates above 50%.”

But not all counties are aging. Three percent of counties have seen a drop in the 65-and-older demographic since 2010. Oklahoma’s small Alfalfa County, on the Kansas border, had the highest rate of decrease in the 65-and-older population, at 9.5%, data show.

Access the study here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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  • Despite its overwhelming advantage in its percentage of population 62 and older, Florida fails year after year to carry its proportionate share of HECM endorsements. It does not even carry its proportionate share of HECM endorsements when looking at its total population.

    Not only does California carry more than its proportionate share of HECM endorsements when looking at the percentage of its population 62 and older but it also carries more than its proportionate share of HECM endorsements based on its total population.

    There are several HECM originators in Florida who get excited about this thing or that in our industry but it is time for the originators in that state to carry their proportionate weight in HECM endorsements. This news is so old, it can be rightfully called old news.

    Texas may be a late bloomer in some areas but is it too early to ask the originators in that state to bear more of the endorsement weight? It seems whether a call center is in Florida or Texas, all are focused on California to some degree or another.

      • John,

        That explains this phenomenon to a relatively small degree. Yet it lacks any historical perspective.

        Most HECMs generated in this century were generated in the aught years of the last decade when Maximum Claim Amounts were much lower and there was little income on the back-end during those years due to Fannie Mae buying up almost all of our HECM production with little back-end compensation as compared to today. Yet total endorsements in those years exceeded what they have been since early 2009 when the lending limit was raised to $625,500 on a national basis. It was also about the same time that the industry turned to Ginnie Mae securitization as the means to “sell off” closed HECMs and revenues per closed HECM rose substantially but not just because the lending limit went up. It was because the rate of compensation on the initial balance due was so much higher through securitization than it had ever through sales to Fannie Mae.

        Back in most of the aught years, the maximum lending limit never got over $363,000. In many counties in the US the lending limit never was much over $280,000 until November 2008 when the aational lending limit took effect for the first time for HECMs but it was only $417,000. That lasted about four months when the Stimulation Act (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) of 2009 took the limit to $625,500 effective February 24, 2009.

        Yet throughout the aught years comparing annual actual HECM endorsements to what they should have been proportionately based on both the population over 62 and the general population in a state has always found California excelling Florida year after year. Are you really trying to say that higher home values in San Francisco, Sausalito, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Malibu, Beverly Hills, and Brentwood in the early and mid aught years accounted for this strange but continuing trend? I doubt I have to say to you that these are not the zip codes where HECMs do best in California

        Many claim it is the attitude that Californians generally have about their home that makes our state a good place to sell HECMs from the consumer side of things. We tend to view our homes as an investment rather than a castle. Most Californians living in the western eighth of the state believe that their homes will significantly rise in value over the next decade. They believe in rates of return on their homes and know that a lower home equity amount will generally result in higher rates of return over the long haul; yet they also generally know it will result in less cash to them over time as well. They have little interest in things like the sophomoric idea that home equity has a ZERO rate of return while such convoluted ideas have much greater support in places where homes are as likely to go down in value as up over the next decade.

        While I generally dismiss leveraged financing as too risky, more people should buy homes along the Pacific Coast or in the SF Bay Area in California. Our rates of return on residential homes throughout the 50’s, 60’s, and most of the 70’s until President Jimmy Carter were great. The 80’s were mixed due to the Tax Act of 1986. President Bill Clinton did little to stimulate home values in California but then…. You get the idea. We have seen our ups and downs but home values in California especially near the coast are generally moving on a significant upward trend.

        Yet there are places like Washington, DC, a great deal of Connecticut, lower New York, coastal Massachusetts, Rhode Island, coastal and northern New Jersey, Delaware, coastal Maine, much of Florida and other areas along the Atlantic coast that do almost as well as California if not better. Yet there is a difference in the outlook in these areas than California generally. I believe that this explains this phenomenon much more than higher home prices alone.

    • Condos. Back in 1990, the last census study I could find, condos were 15% of homes in FL (my guess is that percentage is higher now). I would argue that our potential clientele own condos at a higher rate than the general population.

      If you aren’t aware, it’s takes a miracle to get a condo complex FHA-approved, much less one in FL. You have to find a willing association and hope that they meet the criteria. No small feat.

      • Matt,

        Apparently associations gather that data today. The Community Association Institute (at http://www.caionline.org/about/press/Documents/2014%20Stat%20Review.pdf ) currently estimates total Association residents in Florida for 2014 at 7.9 million and for California (the second largest) at 7.2 million. Of course this is an estimate of all such associations. Texas the third largest number is at 3.2 million residents. So Florida and California have the greatest number and highest percentage of the top four states by population size. In fact New York is way behind with only 2.2 million such residents even though its population is about the same as Florida’s. But I could not find where condo residents were separated from coops or other types of properties represented by associations. So to a limited degree I get your point.

        Granted FHA condo approvals today are much more difficult to obtain. Despite what some might believe California is not filled with ranch style houses and bungalows. No doubt a higher percentage of our seniors live in condos as well.

        Yet putting all of that aside the difficulty of condo approval substantially increased after 2009. So why the wide spread before 2010 when association residents as a whole were lower?

        But on another front, a huge disadvantage In California is we have less opportunity than originators in Florida to originate H4Ps since there is generally an annual net migration of seniors out of California but Florida generally has the largest net migration of seniors in. Which state can match Florida’s growth in its senior population annually from this source? Which state has the same proportionate opportunities to get H4Ps as Florida?

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