ACL Releases Annual Profile of Older Americans

Angie Szumlinski
July 9, 2019
Older Happy Americans

The Administration for Community Living’s annual report for 2018 is out and is full of valuable information for any healthcare provider. Here is a quick list of some of the highlights of this incredibly detailed demographics report.

  • Over the past 10 years, the population age 65 and over increased from 37.8 million in 2007 to 50.9 million in 2017 (a 34% increase) and is projected to reach 94.7 million in 2060.
  • Between 2007 and 2017 the population age 60 and over increased 35% from 52.5 million to 70.8 million.
The 85 and over population is projected to more than double from 6.5 million in 2017 to 14.4 million in 2040 (a 123% increase). Share on X
  • Racial and ethnic minority populations have increased from 7.2 million in 2007 (19% of the older adult population) to 11.8 million in 2017 (23% of older adults) and are projected to increase to 27.7 million in 2040 (34% of older adults).
  • The number of Americans age 45-64 – who will reach age 65 over the next two decades – increased by 9% between 2007 and 2017.
  • More than one in every seven, or 15.6%, of the population is an older American.
  • Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.5 years (20.6 years for females and 18.1 years for males).
There were 86,248 persons age 100 and over in 2017 (0.2% of the total age 65 and over population). Share on X
  • Older women outnumber older men at 28.3 million older women to 22.6 million older men.
  • In 2017, 23% of persons age 65 and over were members of racial or ethnic minority populations–9% were African-Americans (not Hispanic), 4% were Asian (not Hispanic), 0.5% were American Indian and Alaska Native (not Hispanic), 0.1% were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (not Hispanic), and 0.8% of persons 65 and older identified themselves as being of two or more races. Persons of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) represented 8% of the older population.
  • A larger percentage of older men are married as compared with older women—70% of men, 46% of women. In 2018, 32% older women were widows.
  • About 28% (14.3 million) of older persons lived alone (9.5 million women, 4.8 million men).
  • Among women age 75 and over, 44% lived alone.
  • The median income of older persons in 2017 was $32,654 for males and $19,180 for females. The real median income (after adjusting for inflation) of all households headed by older people increased by 1.1% (which was not statistically significant) between 2016 and 2017. Households containing families headed by persons age 65 and over reported a median income in 2017 of $61,946.
  • In 2017, 4,681,000 older adults (9.2%) were below the poverty level. This poverty rate is not statistically different from the poverty rate in 2016 (9.3%). In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau released a new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) which takes into account regional variations in living costs, noncash benefits received, and non-discretionary expenditures but does not replace the official poverty measure. In 2017, the SPM showed a poverty level for persons age 65 and over of 14.1% (almost 5 percentage points higher than the official rate of 9.2%). This increase is mainly due to including medical out-of-pocket expenses in the poverty calculations.
  • The need for caregiving increases with age. In January-June 2018, the percentage of older adults age 85 and over needing help with personal care (20%) was more than twice the percentage for adults ages 75– 84 (9%) and five times the percentage for adults ages 65–74 (4%).
  • Among adults age 75 and over, 42% report the television is their first source of emergency information as compared with 31% for the total population. The percentage of older adults receiving information from the internet (9%) is much lower than for the total population (31%).

Source: “Profile of Older Americans”

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