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Healthcare

Elderly Population In South Dakota

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Mike McCurry is assistant professor of sociology and rural studies and director of the Rural Life and Census Data Center at South Dakota State University in Brookings. According to McCurry’s research, population projections show strain in counties keeping quality of life as much of the state grows older. McCurry says if projections continue as they are over the next couple decades, 1 out of 20 South Dakotans will be over 85 and nearly a quarter over 65. McCurry uses the term “dependency ratio” in explaining his research. The dependency ratio is an age-population ratio of those typically not in the labor force (14-and-under and 65-and-over) and those typically in the labor force. The ratio is used to measure the pressure on a productive population. The higher the ratio, the more people there are who depend on others who care. A dependency ratio of 50, where there are two working people for every dependent, is a fairly balanced ratio, McCurry says. South Dakota’s dependency ratio was 54.06 in 2010 and is projected to be 73.35 in 2035.