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Administration on Aging (AoA)

Highlights*

  • The population age 65 and over numbered 44.7 million in 2013, an increase of 8.8 million or 24.7% since 2003.
  • Between 2003 and 2013 the population age 60 and over increased 30.7% from 48.1 million to 62.8 million.
  • The number of Americans aged 45–64—who will reach 65 over the next two decades—increased by 20.7% between 2003 and 2013.
  • About one in every seven, or 14.1%, of the population is an older American.
  • Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.3 years (20.5 years for females and 17.9 years for males).
  • There were 67,347 persons aged 100 or more in 2013 (0.15% of the total 65+ population).
  • Older women outnumber older men at 25.1 million older women to 19.6 million older men.
  • In 2013, 21.2% of persons 65+ were members of racial or ethnic minority populations—8.6% were African-Americans (not Hispanic), 3.9% were Asian or Pacific Islander (not Hispanic),  0.5% were Native American (not Hispanic), 0.1% were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, (not Hispanic), and  0.7% of persons 65+ identified themselves as being of two or more races. Persons of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) represented 7.5% of the older population.
  • Older men were much more likely to be married than older women---72% of men, 46% of women — (Figure 2). In 2014, 35% older women were widows.
  • About 28% (12.5 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone (8.8 million women, 3.8 million men).
  • Almost half of older women (46%) age 75+ live alone.
  • In 2013, about 536,000 grandparents aged 65 or more had the primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.
  • The population 65 and over has increased from 35.9 million in 2003 to 44.7 million in 2013 (a 24.7% increase) and is projected to more than double to 98 million in 2060.
  • The 85+ population is projected to triple from 6 million in 2013 to 14.6 million in 2040.
  • Racial and ethnic minority populations have increased from 6.3 million in 2003 (17.5% of the older adult population) to 9.5 million in 2013 (21.2% of older adults) and are projected to increase to 21.1 million in 2030 (28.5% of older adults).
  • The median income of older persons in 2013 was $29,327 for males and $16,301 for females. Median money income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people rose by 3.7% (which was statistically significant) between 2012 and 2013. Households containing families headed by persons 65+ reported a median income in 2013 of $51,486.
  • The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2012 were Social Security (reported by 86% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 51%), private pensions (reported by 27%), government employee pensions (reported by 14%), and earnings (reported by 28%).
  • Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 36% of beneficiaries in 2012 (22% of married couples and 47% of non-married beneficiaries).
  • Over 4.2 million older adults (9.5%) were below the poverty level in 2013. This poverty rate is statistically different from the poverty rate in 2012 (9.1%).  In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau also released a new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) which takes into account regional variations in the livings costs, non-cash benefits received, and non-discretionary expenditures but does not replace the official poverty measure. In 2013, the SPM shows a poverty level for older persons of 14.6% (more than 5 percentage points higher than the official rate of 9.5%). This increase is mainly due to including medical out-of-pocket expenses in the poverty calculations.

*Principal sources of data for the Profile are the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Profile incorporates the latest data available but not all items are updated on an annual basis.

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Last Modified: 10/7/2014