POSTED: 8:58 p.m. HST, Jun 15, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 1:18 a.m. HST, Jun 16, 2011
Hawaii's oldest residents are living longer, with the number of people in the islands over 90 years old nearly doubling during the last decade, according to U.S. Census data released Wednesday.
The population of residents above 90 years old increased to 10,476 in last year's count, and they now make up nearly 1 in 100 people in the state.
Improvements in medicine are allowing people to extend their lives in Hawaii, said acting state economist Eugene Tian.
"It's the technology, Medicare and medical services," Tian said. "People's life expectancy is increasing because of the medical implements."
The increase represents a 78 percent jump from a decade ago, when there were 5,896 people over 90 years old.
The chances of a new baby boom to offset the higher number of seniors appeared unlikely. Men in their 20s in Hawaii outnumbered women of the same age in last year's count, which could result in lower birth rates, Tian said.
There were 113.5 men for every 100 women between the ages of 20 and 29, according to the Census.
"It's going to be harder for them to find girlfriends or wives," Tian said. "They're the ones ready to get married and have a partner. It will impact the marriage and birth rate."
As a result, Hawaii will likely get older faster than the rest of the nation, he said.
Hawaii currently has the eighth-most people over 65 years old in the nation, with seniors accounting for 14.5 percent of the population, according to 2009 estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. Florida was the oldest state in the nation, with 17.2 percent of the population over 65 years old.
Over time, school enrollment in Hawaii will likely decrease as the average age creeps upward, Tian said.
The population information released Wednesday was more detailed than previous disclosures that showed the state's total population rose 12 percent during the last decade, to about 1.366 million people.