Immigrants play a major role in Florida’s graying population

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Florida is a graying state.

More than one out of every five Floridians is 65 or older. By 2030, that aging sector of the population is expected to rise to nearly one out of every four residents.

And a new report from the U.S. Census shows that Florida’s senior population reflects the major role that immigrants play in the nation’s third-largest state. Some 21 percent of the state’s 65-plus population is foreign born, the report shows. That’s well above the national average of 13 percent.

With 804,831 foreign-born residents who are 65 or older, Florida has the second largest bloc of those residents in the nation. It trails only California, which has 1.6 million, 65-plus residents out of the more than 6 million across the nation, the report shows.

The report notes that the majority of foreign-born seniors live in major cities.

The most live in the New York and Los Angeles areas. But the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area is third, with nearly 475,000 foreign-born seniors, representing one of every five seniors in that region, the report shows.

The Tampa Bay region, with 76,517 foreign-born seniors, and the Orlando area, with 60,732 foreign-born seniors, are in the top 25 major metropolitan areas, the report shows.

Nationally, the countries accounting for the largest groups of foreign-born seniors include Mexico (15 percent), China (6.8 percent), the Philippines (6.2 percent) and Cuba (5.3 percent), the report shows.

More than two-thirds of the foreign-born seniors have lived in the U.S. for more than three decades, the report shows.

The Census report is based on data collected as part of the American Community Survey from 2012 to 2016.

Lloyd Dunkelberger
Lloyd Dunkelberger has been covering Florida government for over three decades. He’s reported and edited in Tallahassee for the New York Times Regional Newspapers group, Florida Politics, and the News Service of Florida. He grew up in Jacksonville and Palm Beach County and got his journalism degree at the University of Florida.

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