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  • Persons 65 years or older numbered 36.3 million in 2004 (the latest year for which data is available). They represented 12.4 percent of the US population, approximately 1 in 8 Americans.
  • By 2030, there will be approx 71.5 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000.
  • US Census data released March 9, 2006, notes that by 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older; the 85 and older age group is currently the fastest growing segment of the entire population, with expected growth from 4 million people today to 19 million by 2050. Referred to as the old, these persons are the greatest consumers of healthcare.

Commissioned by the National Institute on Aging, the report, entitled "65+ in the United States: 2005," provides information on the health and socioeconomic status of older individuals:

  • The numbers of persons age 65 and older is expected to double in size within the next 25 years; by 2030 approximately 1 in 5 Americans (72 million) will be age 65 years or older.
  • Standard of living for older Americans appears to have improved. The proportion of poverty-stricken persons 65 years and older decreased from 35 percent in 1959 to 10 percent in 2003, believed to be primarily due to Social Security benefits.
  • States with the majority of elders are: Florida (17.6 percent), Pennsylvania (15.6 percent) and West Virginia (15.3 percent). The proportion of Americans with at least a Bachelor's degree increased from 3.4 percent (1950) to 17.4 percent (2003). More than 25 percent of the older population is expected to have a Bachelor's degree by 2030.
  • In 2003, older Americans were 83 percent non-Hispanic white, 8 percent black, 6 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian. By 2030, it is estimated that 72 percent of older Americans will be non-Hispanic white, 11 percent Hispanic, 10 percent black and 5 percent Asian.
Last UpdateJune 8, 2011


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