Background

Seniors are one of our fastest-growing demographics in Montana and represent over 40% of the voting electorate.

Senior citizens are one of the most important constituencies in Montana, however, they are not organized in any formal way outside national affiliates. As Montanans continue to age and seniors become an increasing percentage of the electorate, an organized and active progressive senior’s voice is sorely needed. The project plans to organize and launch a new Montana Senior Citizens Organization adding an important voice to the partners in Montana building additional power for progressive change.

Montana covers 147,040 square miles with a total estimated population in 2014 of 1,023,579 which includes a 65 and older population estimated at 164,768, or 16.1% of the population. This is a 2% increase in the 65 and older population since 2010 and puts Montana in the top 5 of all states in percentage of individuals aged 65 and older.[1]

Montana is aging at a faster rate than most of the other States in the Union. The 2010 U.S. Census showed that Montana’s 65 and older population was at 13.4% while the United States is at 12.1%. By 2011, Montana’s 65 and older population had already increased to 15.1%. Over the next 18 years, 12,775 Montanans will turn age 65 every year. Montanans are also living longer; currently, there are 175 centenarians in Montana based on the 2010 census. Addressing the needs of an aging Montana will continue to be an issue over the next 15 to 20 years.[2]

Life expectancy remains relatively high, baby boomers continue to age into older adulthood, and advances in assistive and medical technology allow more people with chronic illnesses and disabling conditions to live longer and independently in our community.

[1] Montana State Plan on Aging 2016-2019

[2] Presentation to the 2015 Health and Human Services Joint Appropriations Subcommittee Senior Long Term Care Division, Medicaid and Health Services Branch, Department of Public Health and Human Services. Reference: Legislative Fiscal Division Budget Analysis, Volume B, Page 103-125.