- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota’s reputation as a good place to retire could soon be put to the test. The state’s population of retirees is about to explode.

Starting in 2020 and lasting through 2030, for every one person of “working age” added to the Twin Cities metro area population, there will be 21 people added over the age of 65, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1Jny5UA ), citing Metropolitan Council data.

The demographic shift will nearly double the metro area’s elderly population by 2040, when more than 1 in 5 people will be retired.

The baby boomer retirement wave officially began four years ago. And it has state and county officials jittery.

“The impact on the state budget will be substantial. As more people do not have the resources to pay privately, they will have to rely on public programs,” said Loren Colman, assistant commissioner for older adults for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Transit services for the elderly have already far surpassed projected ridership.

Housing for lower- and even middle-class retirees is another worry. Following a longstanding state mandate, the number of Minnesota nursing homes has been dramatically reduced - something state officials still see as a good thing, given their expense and unpopularity. State efforts are focused on persuading seniors to remain in their homes as long as they can before seeking assisted living.

AARP, the largest advocacy group for the elderly in the country, ranks Minnesota as the best place to retire in the U.S. It says Minnesota has by far the most senior housing units per elderly resident in the country: 125 housing units per 1,000 older adults, compared with the national median of 27.

But privately developed retirement communities have filled quickly, with long waiting lists for people who need any kind of subsidy.

“It is a tsunami of immense proportions for which we are entirely unprepared as a community,” said Alan Arthur, chief executive of Aeon, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit developer of affordable housing, a large portion of which serves the elderly. “We’re in very, very, very big trouble.”

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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