DENVER Colorado isnt just gaining more people. Its gaining more people older than 65, and that could present challenges and opportunities for Colorado businesses.
From 2000 to 2010, Colorado grew an average 1.7 percent per year and now has about 5.03 million residents, according to new census figures.
The number of Coloradans ages 55 to 64 grew by an annual average of 6.1 percent in that time, and now there are about 619,000 of them, state demographer Elizabeth Garner said last week.
By 2030, she predicts, there will be 1.35 million Coloradans older than 65, which would be about 1 million more than in 1990.
While close to one in every eight Coloradans is 65 or older today, she projects that will start approaching one in five by 2040.
Colorado traditionally has had a younger population. However, it had a substantial population of baby boomers in 2000, and now theyre starting to hit retirement age.
One million people will be aging out of the work force over the next 20 years, Garner said at the governors forum on agriculture last week.
If they do retire, employers will have to look for replacements. But there are opportunities for businesses, too.
In general, baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 have more money to spend than previous generations did at their age, but people dont always buy more stuff as they get older, Garner said.
Youre ready to unstuff, Garner said.
She said the health, recreation and service industries could benefit from retirees who may be spending more time eating out, catching live entertainment and playing outdoors and maybe needing a knee replacement afterward.
The trend will be more pronounced in the Front Range and Western Slope than in the Eastern Plains, central mountains and San Luis Valley, where already a greater percentage of the population is older than for the state overall, according to Garners projections.
Kelly Davis, director of research for the trade group SnowSports Industries America, has said baby boomers are staying with sports like skiing far longer than expected.
Even when they drop out to protect their bodies, retailers still can capitalize by attracting them to sports like snowshoeing or cross country skiing, she said.
This generation is the most active generation in history. This generation is going to keep it up, she said last month.