Atlanta Regional Commission disproportionately represents seniors

Today’s Atlanta Journal has an article that reminds me of something most people don’t realize: the Atlanta Regional Commission disproportionately represents seniors in the metro Atlanta community.

The article is Metro Atlanta getting older quickly and it is about the aging of the suburban population in Atlanta. It is a good article and I recommend you read the whole thing. As you do, also keep in mind that control of local issues like zoning and transportation are being systematically regionalized to an organization primarily responsible for providing services to the elderly, the Atlanta Regional Commission. Below is a graph of the ARC’s revenue sources and you can see that about one third of their money, more than 20 million dollars, comes from federal grants to serve Atlanta’s aging population.

ARC Revenue

The reason I point this out is that the AJC article makes it seem as though Atlanta is overwhelmed by an elderly population that it estimates to be 472,000 when in fact that is less than 10% of the metro area’s total population. Our aging population is certainly an important part of Atlanta’s community and future but it is still a relatively small percentage of our overall population.

And yet ARC, the organization which is increasingly responsible for the economic future of our entire state, is primarily an organization responsible for services catering to less than 1/10th of our population. Regardless of how you feel about government involvement in these kind of social programs it seems obvious that such a distortion is not in the best interest of our region.