The U.S. population is aging and Maine is ahead of the curve. Maine has the highest median age of any state in the United States and can reasonably expect the pattern of aging to continue. Maine’s proportion of elderly residents is projected to almost double between 2000 and 2030, while the number of Mainers of traditional working-age will essentially remain unchanged.
There are essentially two groups of aging individuals in Maine: those who age in place, and wealthier retirees who can choose where to live. These groups present different opportunities and challenges.
Retirees could confer a number of economic benefits to the state, including importation of wealth, demand for new services, new job opportunities, and increased rates of volunteerism. Amenities that appeal to older populations, such as walkable communities and cultural attractions, could also attract younger people.
Maine has many marketable amenities to attract retirees to the state. Maine’s strong quality of place, its reputation as a tourist destination, and its well-developed network of senior colleges all play important roles in attracting retirees. However, Maine is not the only state attempting to market itself as a retirement destination, and should not expect an influx of retirees to drive economic growth.
Many of the challenges of population aging are predictable - Maine employers, educators, and service providers, both public and private, can take steps to prepare for them. There are a number of issues Maine will need to address including encouraging and enabling older workers to continue in the workforce; improving public services for the elderly, especially transportation and health care; and developing more "elderly-friendly" communities and workplaces. The objective of the state is to devlop and undertake initiatives that respond to anticipated demographic changes.