When talking about the most pressing issues facing Fond du Lac it’s common to hear answers such as a lack of young people, lack of things to do, lack of amenities, etc. However, something that is often not at the front of that list is the communities aging and dependent population1. For us in business intelligence though this is one of, if not, the most pressing issue facing Fond du Lac today.
Based on data from the U.S census, by 2030, 47% of Fond du Lac’s population will be classified as dependent. That is an 8% percent increase from current levels, in just 9 years. This is especially alarming given that healthy communities usually have dependent populations in the 30-40% range. On top of this, Fond du Lac has had a net migration loss and population decline for the past 5+ years. The culmination of this data paints a grim picture: a declining working population having to take of and support an increasing dependent population. Although this issue is more prevalent in Fond du Lac than other cities, this is also a nationwide problem. In 2019, the U.S birthrate hit a 35-year low, 28.6 million Baby Boomers left the workforce in Q4 of 2020 alone, and the U.S population is expected to start declining by 2062.
However, there is still time to combat this issue and work to mitigate against it effects. Meaningful policies and programs developed and supported by both the public and private sectors, in addition to strong community support, can lay the foundation for a reduction or stagnation of the dependent population. The main way to accomplish this is by attracting more working age adults to Fond du Lac. Some general examples of these policies and programs could include improving quality of life in the community, implementing workforce retention strategies, innovative workforce attraction programs, and more.
So, while Fond du Lac’s growing dependent population is, perhaps, the area’s most pressing issue it can be mitigated against through, the above-mentioned, broad policy and program ideas. Even more importantly, is the need for everyone in the community to be aware of and accept the reality of this issue. By doing this the community can, together in public-private partnerships, work towards addressing this pressing issue and further improve our great community.
- “Dependent” refers to the population percentage which is over 65 and under 18.
Blog Sources: American Community Survey (U.S Census) 5-Year Estimates, EMSI Projections