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A Profile of Older Americans: 2012

Living Arrangements

Over half (57%) the older noninstitutionalized persons lived with their spouse in 2012. Approximately 13.2 million or 72% of older men, and 10.3 million or 45% of older women, lived with their spouse (Figure 3). The proportion living with their spouse decreased with age, especially for women. Only 32% of women 75+ years old lived with a spouse.

About 28% (11.8 million) of all noninstitutionalized older persons in 2012 lived alone (8.4 million women, 3.5 million men). They represented 36% of older women and 19% of older men. The proportion living alone increases with advanced age. Among women aged 75 and over, for example, almost half (46%) lived alone.

In 2011, a total of about 2 million older people lived in a household with a grandchild present. About 497,000 of these grandparents over 65 years old were the persons with primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.

A relatively small number (1.5 million) and percentage (3.6%) of the 65+ population in 2011 lived in institutional settings such as nursing homes (1.3 million). However, the percentage increases dramatically with age, ranging (in 2011) from 1% for persons 65-74 years to 3% for persons 75-84 years and 11% for persons 85+. In addition, in 2009, approximately 2.7% of the elderly lived in senior housing with at least one supportive service available to their residents.

Figure 3: Living Arrangements of Persons 65+, 2012

Figure 3M shows that 72% of older men live with a spouse and 19% live alone while 9% live in other arrangements. Figure 3F shows that 46% of older women live with a spouse and 36% live alone while 19% live in other arrangements.

(Based on online data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.)

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