September 25, 2018

S&P: Aging population is hurting CT's economic growth

PHOTO | HBJ File
PHOTO | HBJ File
Connecticut state Capitol in Hartford.

Connecticut is the sixth oldest state in the country, and that has contributed to its diminished economic growth, a new report from S&P Global Ratings says.

Between 2010 and 2017, S&P found that states with high population growth and more adults of prime working age (25-54) were more likely to have stronger economic growth.

Connecticut's population ticked up by just 0.4 percent over those years, compared with double-digit growers like Texas (12.6 percent), Florida, North Dakota, Utah, Colorado and Nevada.

Meanwhile, Connecticut's real gross state product shrank 3.3 percent during that time, the third worst performance of any state.

S&P says the state's outlook is "equally dim," as it expects the number of older residents to continue to grow in the years ahead.

The median age here was 40.9 years old in 2017, nearly three years higher than the U.S. median.

The entire country is aging overall, with the national median age creeping up by nearly 10 months over eight years, but the Northeast remains the oldest. Five out of six states in New England are among the 10 oldest in the country. The exception is Massachusetts, S&P said, which has been able to attract a younger demographic to the Boston area.

Over the next decade, the number of retirement-age workers in the country will nearly double, which will require decision-making by state governments.

"This demographic shift will make the 2030s an important transitionary decade," S&P's report said. "State governments will need to adapt their revenue structures and service levels to accommodate the growing elderly population."

Correction: Connecticut is the sixth oldest state in the country. This story previously said Connecticut is the fifth oldest state.

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