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Population Research and Policy Review


Springer Netherlands

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The shifting of a country’s age structure has far-reaching socioeconomic and policy implications. In the US, the changing age structure at the sub-national level has received little research attention. To address this gap, we examine age dependencies across states in the US between 1990 and 2010 using decennial census data. We find that dependency changes have been gradual with a distinct graying of states during this period. Within this overarching trend, the sources of states’ dependencies follow complicated trajectories without clear spatiotemporal patterns. Nevertheless, changes in states’ old-age dependency contributions to respective total dependencies are geographically clustered and the inverse link between old-age dependency and economic productivity across states may be waning. Additional research is justified to further unravel these trends in old-age dependencies. The analytic framework that we apply can be adopted to conduct sub-national age dependency studies for other countries, including some European nations with relatively large proportions of older adults and many developing nations with an increasing share of older adults.

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