Missouri’s older population is growing.

There are currently more than 1.1 million Missourians over the age of 60, which is about 23% of the state’s population, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). In ten years, more than one-fourth of Missouri’s population will be 60 or older and will outnumber those under the age of 18.

Mindy Ulstad, Bureau Chief of Senior Programs for DHSS, said like the rest of the country, birth rates in Missouri are dropping while life expectancy rises.

“It’s pretty much that simple,” she told Missourinet. “People are living longer due to the advancements in health care and knowing how to take care of ourselves better. We know that the children born today are expected to live to a hundred, and our current populations (are) living longer than they have in the past. And families just aren’t having the same number of children they used to.”

The state is currently seeking feedback for its Master Plan on Aging, with several townhall meetings scheduled across Missouri between now and March 8th.

“We know right now there’s not enough transportation or affordable housing,” Ulstad said. “We know that we’re going to have to really look at, on the state level and on local levels, how to expand access to both transportation and housing, how to make sure that healthcare is accessible for everyone that needs it.”

Dates and locations for the townhall meetings can be found here.

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