Census Offers Statistics on Older Americans

Census Offers Statistics on Older Americans

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On July 1, 2004, 12 percent of all Americans were 65 years of age and over. By 2050, people 65 and over will comprise an impressive 21 percent of the U.S. population, reports the U.S. Census Bureau.

Every year since May 1963, Older Americans Month has been honored with a presidential proclamation. Last year, President George W. Bush said, “Older Americans help others to understand the past, and they teach timeless lessons of courage, endurance and love. Through their legacy of patriotism, service, and responsibility, America's seniors also unite families and communities and serve as role models for younger generations.”

In observance of Older Americans Month 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau has compiled some revealing statistics about America's aging population.


  • 36.3 million -- The number of people 65 and over in the U.S. on July 1, 2004. This age group accounts for 12 percent of the total U.S. population. Between 2003 and 2004, 351,000 people moved into this age group.
  • 86.7 million -- Projected number of people 65 and over in the year 2050. People in this age group would comprise 21 percent of America's total population at that time.
  • 147% -- Projected percentage increase in the 65-and-over population between 2000 and 2050. By comparison, the population as a whole would have increased by only 49 percent over the same period.


  • 4.6 million -- Number of people age 65 and over who are still employed. This amounts to 13 percent of all people in this age group.


  • 77%- Proportion of people ages 65 to 69 who graduated from high school. Seventy-three percent of people ages 70 to 74 and 68 percent of those 75 and over are also high school graduates.
  • 20% -- Percentage of the population ages 65 to 69 who have a bachelor's degree or higher education. Among people ages 70 to 74, 19 percent have achieved this level of education; for those 75 and over, 15 percent are college graduates.
  • 73,000 -- Number of people 65 and over enrolled in college in October 2002.
    The Census Bureau has also reported that a college degree greatly increases a person's lifetime earnings, with persons holding masters degrees typically earning $1.3 million over their lifetimes than those with high school diplomas only. On a yearly basis, a college degree typically at least doubles a person's average annual earnings.

Income and Wealth

  • $108,885-- Median net worth in 2000 of households with householders 65 and over. In contrast, householders under the age of 35 had a median household net worth of $7,240.
  • $23,787 -- Median 2003 income of households with householders 65 and over, statistically unchanged, in real terms, from the previous year.
  • 10.2% -- Poverty rate for people 65 and over in 2003.

Voting Patterns

  • 65% -- Percentage of registered voters ages 65 to 74 who voted in the 2002 Congressional election. Seventy-two percent of people ages 65 to 74 voted in the 2000 presidential election. This age group had the highest rate of voter participation in both the 2000 and 2002 elections.

Service to Our Nation

  • 9.7 million -- Estimated number of people age 65 and over who are military veterans.
  • Source: U.S. Census Bureau


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