Lane County’s Age and Race Distributions

by Brian Rooney

September 24, 2018

The statewide and county age distributions have two distinct high points, the age groups that include 55 to 69 year olds and the age groups that include 25 to 39 year olds. The former represents the baby-boom generation and the latter, the millennial generation. While boomers are reaching retirement age, millennials are entering their prime working years. The population ages 40 to 54 is smaller. The result may be a temporary skill shortage as more baby boomers retire than there are skilled people to replace them.

How serious this skill gap will become is uncertain. It depends on how quickly baby boomers exit the labor force, and whether in-migration brings new skilled labor into the local area. One thing seems certain, the aging of the baby boomers will create opportunities for younger people who develop the right skills. For instance, the aging of the baby boomers is expected to increase demand for health care workers because an older population requires more health care services, while retirements in this field will simultaneously create additional job openings.
The age distribution of Lane’s population is not significantly different from the statewide distribution, although Lane has a higher proportion of its population in the young-adult (15-24) cohorts. The higher concentration of young adults can be explained easily by the fact that the University of Oregon and Lane Community College attract tens of thousands of out-of-county young people.

Minority racial and ethnic proportions in Lane County are similar to the statewide proportions. Lane County is 89.3 percent white, compared with 87.1 percent statewide. The next highest racial category in the county is Asian, at 3.1 percent. The reported Hispanic ethnicity is 8.9 percent in Lane County, compared with 13.1 percent statewide.

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