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Features for Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens Recognized Nationally, Locally During Older Americans Month

Never Too Old to Play is theme for 2012; encourages seniors to be active; Census Bureau issues facts about senior citizens

Read more about the theme - Never Too Old to Play - and more information from Administration on Aging below Census Bureau data.

May 15, 2012 - When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays, according to the Administration on Aging. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy met with representatives of the National Council of Senior Citizens to discuss growing concern about older Americans – a result was the start "Senior Citizens Month" each May.

Thanks to President Jimmy Carter's 1980 designation, what was once called Senior Citizens Month, is now called "Older Americans Month," and has become a time to celebrate those 65 and older.

Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country.

Every President since JFK has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. The Administration on Aging helps promote the celebration Older Americans Month across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other community activities.

Each year, too, the Census Bureau issues a special list of facts about senior citizens in the U.S. - read below.

40.3 million

The number of people who were 65 and older in the United States on April 1, 2010, accounting for 13 percent of the total population. In 2010, this age group was larger than in any other decennial census, up from 31.2 million in 1990 and 35.0 million in 2000.
Source: The Older Population: 2010 <>

88.5 million

Projected population of people 65 and older in 2050. People in this age group would comprise 20 percent of the total population at that time.
Source: Population projections <>

546 million

Projected 2011 midyear world population 65 and older. Projections indicate the number will increase to 1.56 billion by 2050. The percentage of the world's population 65 and older would increase from about 8 percent to about 17 percent over the period.
Source: International Data Base <>


The projected number of people 65 and older of traditional working ages (ages 20 to 64) to every 100 people in 2030, up from 22 in 2010. This time period coincides with the time when all baby boomers will have moved into the 65 and older age category. (The figures for 2010 are not census counts.)
Source: The Next Four Decades: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050<>


The percentage of the 65 and older population expected to be a minority - i.e., a group other than single race, non-Hispanic white - in 2050, more than double the percentage in 2010 (20 percent). Likewise, among those 85 and older, 33 percent are projected to be a minority in 2050, up from 15 percent in 2010.
Source: The Next Four Decades: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050<>


Related Stories


Census Bureau Opens Website for Release of 1940 Census Data

1940 Census Release Is 'Super Bowl For Genealogists' says NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’

Video about 1940 Census

By NPR Staff

March 30, 2012

Older Americans Month Underway to Recognize About 40 Million Senior Citizens

Administration on Aging promoting local events, offers online games

May 2, 2011

Facts and Figures About Senior Citizens Released for Older Americans Month: May 2010

Census Bureau provides this annual update on the state of older Americans

April 27, 2010

Older Americans Month 2009 Kicks-Off with Wrong Theme: Helping Seniors Make Healthy Decisions

Would achieve more if the month was spent recognizing what is being accomplished by these people who continue to make America great

By Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher

May 1, 2009

Census Bureau Presents Latest Facts about Senior Citizens for Older Americans Month

Nation to pay tribute in some way to older people across the country; now Older Americans Month in May 2009 - May 1, 2009

Here Are Facts for  Older Americans Month 2007

Population 65 and older nearing 40 million, more than 12% of Americans - May 1, 2007

Read more Features for Senior Citizens


Income and Wealth


The real median 2010 income of households with householders 65 and older. Since 2007, real median household income declined for all age groups except 65 and older. The income of this group increased by 5.5 percent between 2007 and 2010. The corresponding real median for all households was $49,445 in 2010.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010 <>


The percent of people 65 and older who were in poverty in 2010. There were 3.5 million seniors in poverty in 2010. Neither the poverty rate nor the number of people 65 and older in poverty in 2010 was statistically different from the estimates for 2009. The corresponding rate for the population as a whole was 15.1 percent.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010<>

Serving Our Nation

9.1 million

Estimated number of people 65 and older who were veterans of the armed forces in 2010.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey


6.7 million

Number of people 65 and older who were in the labor force in 2010. Projections indicate that by 2018, the number will reach 11.1 million.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011 (Table 587)


The percentage who worked full-time among people 65 and older who were employed in 2009.
Source: The Older Population in the United States: 2009


The percentage working in management, professional and related occupations among civilian employed people 65 and older.
Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement: 2010 (Table 17) <>


Percentage of people 65 and older in the labor force in 2010.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey



Proportion of people 65 and older in 2010 who had completed high school or higher education.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey <>


Percentage of the population 65 and older in 2010 who had earned a bachelor's degree or higher.
Source: 2010 American Community Survey <>

Marital Status and Living Arrangements


Percentage of people 65 and older who were married in 2010.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements


Percentage of people 65 and older in 2010 who were widowed.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements <>



Percentage of citizens 65 and older reporting casting a ballot in the 2008 presidential election. Along with those 45 to 64 (69 percent), people 65 and older had the highest turnout rate of any age group.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008 (Table 2) <>



Percentage of householders 65 and older who owned their homes as of fourth quarter 2011.
Source: Current Population Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey <>

Population Distribution


The number of males per 100 females in the 65-and-older population in 2010, an increase from 2000 and 1990 when the sex ratios were 88.1 and 82.7, respectively. For those 85 and older, had 58.3 males per 100 females in 2010, 50.5 males per 100 females in 2000, and 45.6 males per 100 females in 1990.
Source: The Older Population: 2010 <>


The fastest-growing age group among the older population in 2010, increasing from 3.9 million to 5.1 million.
Source: The Older Population: 2010 <>


Median age of the population 65 and older in 2010, decreasing from 74.5 in 2000. Growth in the 65 to 69 age group has contributed to lowering the median age. The 65 to 69 age group grew by 30.4 percent and increased from 9.5 million to 12.4 million.
Source: The Older Population: 2010 <>


Projected number of centenarians in the United States in 2050.
Source: Population projections <>

States and Counties


Percentage of people 65 and older living in Florida in 2010, the highest of any state, followed by West Virginia (16.0 percent), Maine (15.9 percent), Pennsylvania (15.4 percent) and Iowa (14.9 percent).
Source: The Older Population: 2010 <>


The number of counties that experienced at least a doubling, from 2000 to 2010, of their population 65 years and over when the 65 and over population contained at least 100 people in 2010, four were in Colorado, five in Georgia, five in Texas, three in Alaska, two in Virginia and one in Florida. The county with the highest share of the population 65 and older was Sumter County, Fla. (43.4 percent), followed by Charlotte County, Fla. (34.1 percent), McIntosh County, N. D. (34.0 percent), La Paz County, Ariz. (32.6 percent), and Highlands County, Fla. (32.2 percent).
Source: The Older Population: 2010 <>

> More statistics below from Administration on Aging

Administration on Aging

“Never Too Old to Play!” – Theme of Older Americans Month 2012  

The theme for Older Americans Month 2012 - Never Too Old to Play! - puts a spotlight on the important role older adults play in sharing their experience, wisdom, and understanding, and passing on that knowledge to other generations in a variety of significant ways.

This year’s celebrations will recognize the value that older adults continue to bring to our communities through spirited participation in social and faith groups, service organizations, and other activities.

As large numbers of baby-boomers reach retirement age, many communities have increased their efforts to provide meaningful opportunities for older adults—many of whom remain physically and socially active through their 80s and beyond.

Current trends show that people over age 60 account for an ever-growing percentage of participants in community service positions, faith-based organizations, online social networking as well as arts and recreational groups.

Lifelong participation in social, creative, and physical activities has proven health benefits, including retaining mobility, muscle mass, and cognitive abilities. But older adults are not the only ones who benefit from their engagement in community life.

Studies show their interactions with family, friends, and neighbors across generations enrich the lives of everyone involved. Young people who have significant relationships with a grandparent or elder report that these relationships helped shape their values, goals, and life choices and gave them a sense of identity and roots.

Aging Statistics by Administration on Aging

The older population--persons 65 years or older--numbered 39.6 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available). They represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. People 65+ represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000 but are expected to grow to be 19% of the population by 2030. The information in this section of the AoA website brings together a wide variety of statistical information about this growing population.

Please select from the topics below to learn more:

> Profile of Older Americans

> AGing Integrated Database (AGID)

> Census Data & Population Estimates

> Projected Future Growth of Older Population

> Minority Aging

> Key Indicators of Well-Being

> Download the AoA Statistics Widget and Add this Widget to Your Website





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