Like much of the nation, Alaska’s population is rapidly aging, which raises particular challenges for the growing number who have never had children.

For the past decade, Alaska has had the fastest growing senior population per capita in the nation, with those 60 and older now representing nearly 20% of the state’s overall population of 730,000 residents.

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that a rising number of these aging seniors will grow older without adult children to care for them or provide daily help. This is due to a decades-long decline in marriage and childbearing.

As of 2018, there were 92.2 million Americans aged 55 and older. Of these, 15.2 million were childless. This number is expected to rapidly increase in the coming years, as younger adults are even less inclined to have children.

About four in 10 childless older Americans now live alone, compared to just two in 10 who have adult children. Childless adults are also less likely to have gotten married and therefore less likely to live with a spouse who they can rely upon for help.

Not only do childless adults have fewer family members to call on, they’re also more likely to live in poverty than their child rearing counterparts, Census data reveals.

The lack of a traditional family safety nets for aging Americans presents significant social challenges in the years ahead, especially given the high cost of senior housing and nursing care facilities. In Alaska, the average cost of a private nursing home room was roughly $437,000 a year in 2020. Assisted living home cost nearly 80,000 that year, and home health care was $64,000.

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Childless Alaska seniors more likely to grow old alone

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Jen says:

    I wonder how much of this includes fatherless and motherless children? If the senior today was not much a parent then good chance they will end up alone.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Heart wrenching but there are ways seniors can get plugged in for relationship and support. Being involved in a church, being active in senior center, or civic activities can develop relationship which also can allow need to be known. Often seniors don’t want to ask for help. Matsu Regional used to offer a monthly gathering called ‘Senior Circle’ , put on hold due to Covid, that offered speakers each month on various topics of senior interest, as well as a luncheon and visiting time. This monthly group was more than educational as it allowed for friendship and support among those that faithfully attended. Such activities are worthwhile, enriching and help seniors stay connected.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    I know personally lots of seniors yes 95 years olds
    Plus the 93 year old she stills drives, now that’s crazy right
    We all need love❤️
    So if you can help or just listen to there stores it would be so awesome
    What did Jesus say,
    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    Yes we’re are all getting older

  • Mark Dundore says:

    If fewer people decided in favor of infanticide, more of them might have adult children. 1206 were killed last year in Alaska…

  • Natural Alaskan says:

    What is the benefit of having adult children if they are just gonna stick you in a nursing home?