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Older Persons with Mobility and Self-Care Limitations: 1990

January 8, 1996

National Aging Information Center

This report was produced by the National Aging Information Center under contract number HHS-100-95-0017 with the Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

INTRODUCTION

The tables and graphs presented in this report are based on 1990 United States census data on civilian, noninstitutionalized persons 60 years and older who have mobility limitations, self-care limitations, or both. Mobility limitations are health conditions lasting 6 months or longer that made it difficult for individuals to go outside the home alone. Self-care limitations are health conditions lasting 6 or more months that made it difficult for individuals to take care of their personal needs, such as dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home. Information on the extent and distribution by age group of these limitations among civilian, community-dwelling older persons in the United States as a whole, and in each of the States, is likely to be of considerable interest to researchers, policymakers, and service planners at the national, regional, State, and local levels. For example, this information might serve as a partial basis for gauging service needs in the older, community-dwelling population, as well as a means of comparing the size and distribution of older persons with different types of limitations across States.

Part 1 of the report presents the data for the United States as a whole. It briefly highlights and discusses national patterns, as presented in the following:

  • Information bullets showing the percentage of the civilian, noninstituitionalized population 60 years and older, and 85 years and older, and the total percentages of both groups with either mobility limitations, self-care limitations, or both;
  • A table giving the numbers and percentages of persons 60 years and older with various limitations, by age and type(s) of limitations; and
  • A graph depicting the percentage of persons with different types of combinations of limitations, for four age categories: 60–64, 65–74, 75–84, and 85+ years.

Also included in this section is a table presenting an overview of how the States rank with respect to one another on four key parameters: (1) percentage of persons 60 years and older in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population; (2) the percentage of those 60+ years with either or both types of limitations; (3) the percentage of persons in the population 85 years and older; and (4) the percentage of the 85+ age group with either or both types of limitations.

Part 2 presents State-specific data on mobility and self-care limitations for each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia. Mirroring the format for the national data, the information for each State includes:

  • Information bullets on the relative rankings of the percentages of those 65+ and 85+ years in the State’s population and the percentages of both groups in the State with either or both types of limitations;
  • A table containing the numbers and percentages of persons in the State 60 years and older with various limitations, by age and type(s) of limitations; and
  • A graph depicting the percentage of persons in the State with different types and combinations of limitations for four age categories: 60–64, 65–74, 75–84, and 85+ years.

National and State data are presented in a parallel format to support a variety of possible uses, including a single State-centered focus, comparison of State data with national data, and cross-State comparisons.

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PART 1—NATIONAL PATTERNS

Overview

To be of most use to policymakers and planners, this report emphasizes the existence of mobility and self-care limitations among the older population. However, nearly 83.0 percent of civilian, noninstitutionalized persons 60 years and older in the United States have neither type of limitation. Moreover, it is only for the 85 and older age category that the percentage with neither limitation declines considerably, to about 50.0 percent.

Nationally, the percentage of civilian, noninstitutionalized persons 60 years and older with mobility limitations only, both mobility and self-care limitations, and either or both types of limitations increases with age. In general, the greatest increases occur for the 85 and older age group. However, the pattern of increase with age does not appear to hold for persons with self-care limitations only; there also is very little variation (3.5 to 5.0 percent) among age groups in the percentage with self-care limitations only.

Data on the age distribution of older persons for each type and combination of limitations indicate that, relative to each age group’s share of the national 60+ population, persons 60 to 64 and 65 to 74 years account for a smaller share and those 75 to 84 and 85+ years make up a larger share of civilian, noninstitutionalized persons 60 years and older with all types and combinations of limitations. The sole, minor exception is for persons 65 to 74 years with self-care limitations only; this age group accounts for 44.7 percent of the total persons 60 years and older and the same percentage (4.2 percent) of persons 60 years and older who have self-care limitations only.

State rankings (50 States and the District of Columbia) on four key percentages, provide a useful way to compare data across States. Nationally, 21.5 percent of the civilian, noninstitutionalized population is 60 years or older; States vary from a high of 29.4 percent (Florida) to a low of 9.3 percent (Alaska). There is less variation across States in the percentage of those 60 years and older with mobility limitations, self-care limitations, or both. The national figure is 17.3 percent, with States ranging from a high of 24.3 percent (Mississippi) to a low of 11.5 percent (North Dakota). In addition, there seems to be little, if any, relationship between a State’s rankings on these 2 percentages. The top 6 States in the percentage of the total civilian, noninstitutionalized population 60 years and older are Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Iowa. The top 6 in the percentage of those 60 years and older with limitations are Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Georgia. West Virginia is the only State in both categories. Southern States with relatively large rural populations appear to have the highest concentrations of persons 60+ years with limitations.

States vary little in the percentage of their civilian, noninstitutionalized population 85 years and older, ranging from a high of 1.8 percent (South Dakota) to a low of 0.2 percent (Alaska). The percentage for the United States as a whole is 1.2 percent. There is almost a 25.0 percentage point difference between the State with the highest percentage of those 85 years and older with limitations—Kentucky, with 57.9 percent—and the one with the lowest percentage of civilian, noninstitutionalized persons 85 years and older who have limitations—North Dakota, with 33.6 percent. Once again, there does not seem to be a relationship between these 2 sets of rankings. The 6 States with the highest percentage of 85+ years in the population are South Dakota, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and North Dakota. Those with the highest percentage of persons 85+ years with either or both types of limitations are Kentucky, Mississippi, West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. Five of the 6 southern States listed as having the highest percentage of persons 60+ years with limitations reappear, in slightly different order, among those States with the highest percentages of civilian, noninstitutionalized persons 85+ years with limitations.

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UNITED STATESPERCENTAGES

Percentage of older persons in the civilian, noninstitutionalized population:

  • In the United States, 21.5 percent of civilian, noninstitutionalized persons are 60 years and older; 1.2 percent are 85 years and older.

Percentage of persons 60+ and 85+ years with limitations:

  • In the United States, 17.3 percent of persons 60+ and 49.8 percent of those 85 years and older have a self-care or mobility limitation or both.

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Mobility and Self-Care Limitations of Persons 60+, by Age: 1990. United States 1,2

Civilian, Noninstitutionalized Persons
(Data based on a sample)

  WITH MOBILITY OR SELF-CARE LIMITATION    
AGE Mobility Limitation Only Self-Care Limitation Only With Both Imitations Total WITH NEITHER LIMITATION TOTAL
NUMBER
TOTAL, 65+ 2,419,357 1,331,521 2,192,563 5,943,441 23,620,070 29,563,511
TOTAL, 60+ 2,775,675 1,701,400 2,478,224 6,955,299 33,161,202 40,116.501
60-64 356,318 369,879 285,661 1,011,858 9,541,132 10,552,990
65-74 882,870 760,439 748,780 2,392,089 15,541,463 17,933,552
75-84 1,036,302 471,517 905,217 2,413,036 6,929,329 9,342,365
85+ 500,185 99,565 538,566 1,138,316 1,149,278 2,287,594
PERCENT DISTRIBUTION, BY MOBILITY & SELF-CARE LIMITATIONS
TOTAL, 60+ 6.9 4.2 6.2 17.3 82.7 100.0
60-64 3.4 3.5 2.7 9.6 90.4 100.0
65-74 4.9 4.2 4.2 13.3 86.7 100.0
75-84 11.1 5.0 9.7 25.8 74.2 100.0
85+ 21.9 4.4 23.5 49.8 50.2 100.0
PERCENT DISTRIBUTION, BY AGE
TOTAL, 60+ 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
60-64 12.8< 21.7 11.5 14.5 28.8 26.3
65-74 31.8 44.7 30.2 34.4 46.9 44.7
75-84 37.3 27.7 36.5 34.7 20.9 23.3
85+ 18.0 5.9 21.7 16.4 3.5 5.7

1 Persons were identified as having a mobility limitation if they had a health condition that had lasted for 6 or more months and that made it difficult to go outside the home alone.

2 Persons were identified as having a self-care limitation if they had a health condition that had lasted for 6 or more months and that made it difficult to take care of their own personal needs, such as dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home.

Source of data: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing, Special Tabulation on Aging, STP 14, Table P52. See technical documentation for more detailed definitions.

Table compiled by the National Aging Information Center

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Percent Distribution of Mobility and Self-Care Limitations for Persons 60+, by Age Group: 1990

Percent Distribution of Mobility and Self-Care Limitations for Persons 60+, by Age Group: 1990. United States (Chart)

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State Rankings: Percent of Older Persons in the Total State Population and With Mobility or Self-Care Limitations, 1990

Civilian, Noninstitutionalized Persons
(Data based on a sample)

  PERCENT OF 60+ PERSONS IN POPULATION PERCENT OF 60+ POPULATION WITH EITHER LIMITATION OR BOTH PERCENT OF 85+ PERSONS IN POPULATION PERCENT OF 85+ POPULATION WITH EITHER LIMITATION OR BOTH
STATE PERCENT RANK2 PERCENT RANK2 PERCENT RANK2 PERCENT RANK2
Alabama 22.5 16.0 22.8 2.0 1.3 21.0 57.3 5.0
Alaska 9.3 51.0 12.6 48.0 0.2 51.0 51.6 14.0
Arizona 22.7 14.5 14.5 36.0 1.1 36.0 46.3 37.0
Arkansas 24.9 5.5 21.0 7.0 1.5 7.5 55.6 9.5
California 18.4 46.0 16.4 25.0 1.0 43.0 48.8 28.0
Colorado 17.7 49.0 14.3 38.5 1.0 43.0 47.3 33.5
Connecticut 22.1 21.5 15.8 29.5 1.3 21.0 48.9 27.0
Delaware 21.0 31.5 15.8 29.5 1.0 43.0 48.5 29.0
District of Columbia 20.1 37.5 20.6 8.5 1.3 21.0 49.1 24.5
Florida 29.4 1.0 16.1 27.0 1.7 3.0 45.9 40.0
Georgia 17.9 48.0 21.3 6.0 0.9 48.5 57.4 4.0
Hawaii 21.4 28.5 14.8 33.5 1.1 36.0 46.6 36.0
Idaho 21.5 26.5 12.6 48.0 1.2 28.5 44.6 41.0
Illinois 21.3 30.0 17.3 18.5 1.2 28.5 50.2 18.0
Indiana 21.4 28.5 16.8 23.5 1.2 28.5 49.4 23.0
Iowa 24.9 5.5 14.9 32.0 1.7 3.0 43.3 44.5
Kansas 23.3 11.0 14.8 33.5 1.6 5.5 40.9 48.0
Kentucky 21.8 24.5 21.7 4.0 1.2 28.5 57.9 1.0
Louisiana 20.1 37.5 21.6 5.0 1.1 36.0 56.1 8.0
Maine 22.4 17.5 15.4 31.0 1.4 13.5 46.0 39.0
Maryland 18.8 45.0 17.0 21.0 1.0 43.0 52.3 13.0
Massachusetts 21.8 24.5 16.2 26.0 1.4 13.5 48.3 30.0
Michigan 20.8 33.0 17.2 20.0 1.2 28.5 49.9 20.0
Minnesota 20.7 34.0 13.9 43.0 1.4 13.5 43.3 44.5
Mississippi 22.1 21.5 24.3 1.0 1.4 13.5 57.7 2.0
Missouri 23.4 10.0 18.0 15.0 1.5 7.5 49.1 24.5
Montana 22.7 14.5 12.6 48.0 1.2 28.5 41.1 47.0
Nebraska 23.5 9.0 12.9 44.0 1.7 3.0 38.6 49.0
Nevada 19.4 41.0 14.3 38.5 0.7 50.0 46.8 35.0
New Hampshire 19.1 43.0 14.2 40.5 1.1 36.0 42.2 46.0
New Jersey 22.4 17.5 16.9 22.0 1.2 28.5 49.7 21.0
New Mexico 19.9 39.0 15.9 28.0 1.0 43.0 48.1 31.0
New York 22.0 23.0 18.1 14.0 1.4 13.5 49.6 22.0
North Carolina 21.0 31.5 20.0 11.0 1.1 36.0 56.8 6.0
North Dakota 23.9 8.0 11.5 51.0 1.6 5.5 33.6 51.0
Ohio 22.2 19.5 17.5 17.0 1.2 28.5 50.6 17.0
Oklahoma 23.0 12.0 18.6 12.0 1.4 13.5 51.0 16.0
Oregon 22.9 13.0 14.6 35.0 1.4 13.5 47.5 32.0
Pennsylvania 25.3 2.0 17.3 18.5 1.3 21.0 50.1 19.0
Rhode Island 24.0 7.0 16.8 23.5 1.4 13.5 51.2 15.0
South Carolina 20.4 35.0 20.3 10.0 0.9 48.5 55.6 9.5
South Dakota 25.1 4.0 11.6 50.0 1.8 1.0 35.0 50.0
Tennessee 21.5 26.5 20.6 8.5 1.2 28.5 56.5 7.0
Texas 18.2 47.0 18.4 13.0 1.0 43.0 52.8 12.0
Utah 17.3 50.0 14.4 37.0 1.0 43.0 49.0 26.0
Vermont 19.6 40.0 12.8 45.0 1.3 21.0 43.6 43.0
Virginia 18.9 44.0 17.9 16.0 1.0 43.0 54.9 11.0
Washington 20.3 36.0 14.2 40.5 1.2 28.5 46.2 38.0
West Virginia 25.2 3.0 22.1 3.0 1.4 13.5 57.6 3.0
Wisconsin 22.2 19.5 14.0 42.0 1.4 13.5 43.9 42.0
Wyoming 19.2 42.0 12.7 46.0 1.0 43.0 47.3 33.5

1 Includes mobility limitations (a health condition that lasted for 6 or more months that made it difficult to go outside the home alone); self-care limitations (a health condition that lasted for 6 or more months that made it difficult to take care of their own personal needs, such as dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home); or both.

2 Although the percentages displayed were rounded to only one decimal place, the rankings were calculated using percentages with five decimal places. Consequently, 2 or more States may have identical percentages but were assigned different rankings based on the additional decimal places.

Source of data: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing, Special Tabulation on Aging, STP 14, Table P52. See technical documentation for more detailed definitions.

Table compiled by the National Aging Information Center




Last Modified: 12/31/1600