Rising Aging Population in EKY

By: Sean Evans Email
By: Sean Evans Email

Letcher County is one area in Eastern Kentucky that has seen a rise in the 65 and older population, and a drop in younger populations since the last Census report in 2000.
Those shifting numbers have some county offices that depend on taxes to run, scrambling.

"Our whole operation is based on tax base, and how much money we collect from taxes. And as citizens get older, they get exempted from those taxes," said Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb.

Ron Crouch, with the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet says things like tax exemptions from pensions after retirement, and exemptions for disabilities, are prime examples.
However, he says this isn't all bad for the population.

"People are living longer, so that's actually good news for your region, cause what it means is those young people who are there have more opportunities for jobs in the healthcare industry," said stats expert Ron Crouch.

Webb says the only way to really offset this loss in a tax-paying base would be to build new businesses and create a new group of younger tax-payers.

He says the building projects at the Jenkins industrial park, and the possibility of a prison in Letcher County offer hope, but it will take time for any benefits from those to give a boost to their struggling budget.

You can see more 2010 Census figures at ksdc.louisvill.edu
Look for the 2010 Census Profiles.

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