The government needs to start planning now to make provision to meet prospective welfare funding in 20 years, that's the message from Bob Gilbert of the Older Persons council in Cavan. Mr Gilbert was commenting following the release of figures from the 2016 census showing the average age across Cavan is 37.2 year old, this compares to an average age of 36 in 2011. Across the state the average age rose to 37.4, up from 36.1 in 2011, a rise of 1.3 years. As a county Cavan is still below the national average by just over 2 months. A look at the profile based upon gender show the average age for females in the county is still higher than that for males, although the gap is narrowing. In 2011 women were on average 0.6 of a year older than men, but in 2016 that gap has narrowed to 0.4 of a year. An increase in the average age is mirrored by a drop in the birth rate nationally, both of which may signal problems in meeting welfare and health commitments among the population over the coming years. Bob Gilbert believes the figures show that in twenty years Ireland will need two people working and paying tax to support the older person who is on a pension. He also says the retirement age needs to be raised significantly to account for people living longer and continuing a healthy lifestyle
Nationally the census shows a growing concentration of the younger people in cities, moving away from rural areas to seek employment or pursue further education. Cavan also reflects this phenomena with the lowest representation of any age group in the 19 to 24 range. The county's future is not so bleak with a growth in females and males between 3 and 9 years of age.