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An aging population

People with Parkinson’s disease participate Sept. 10, 2012, in a therapy class at Bethesda wellness center in Willmar. Last year Bethesda launched an initiative to become a regional magnet for people with Parkinson’s disease. Tribune photo by Gary Miller1 / 2
Mary Schnell, left, of Willmar is instructed on how to use a piece of exercise equipment by certified trainer Josh Dahlke at Club Bethesda in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ron Adams2 / 2

We’re getting older, especially in rural Minnesota, and census reports and demographic projections confirm this.                               

According to the Minnesota State Demographer’s Office, all but a handful of counties will be home to more than one in five people over age 65 by 2030. And for the first time in state history, by 2020 there will be more people over 65 than school-aged children.

This oldest age group grew by 15 percent in Minnesota over the past decade. Figures from the 2010 Census show that 12.9 percent of Minnesotans are now over the age of 65.

The state’s median age also rose, from 35.4 in 2000 to 37.4 in the most recent census.