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Geographic Distribution

The proportion of older persons in the population varies considerably by state with some states experiencing much greater growth in their older populations (Figures 4 and 5). In 2012, over half (59%) of persons 65+ lived in 12 states: California (4.6 million); Florida (3.5 million); Texas (2.8 million); New York (2.8 million); Pennsylvania (2.0 million); and Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, and Georgia each had well over 1 million (Figure 6).

Persons 65+ constituted approximately 15% or more of the total population in 11 states in 2012: Florida (18.2%); Maine (17.0%); West Virginia (16.8%); Pennsylvania (16.0%); Montana (15.7%); Vermont (15.7%); Delaware (15.3%); Iowa (15.3%); Hawaii (15.1%); Rhode Island (15.1%); and Arkansas (15.0%). In 14 states, the 65+ population increased by 30% or more between 2002 and 2012: Alaska (58.9%), Nevada (49.3%), Colorado (41.7%), Georgia (40.1%), Arizona (39.6%); Idaho (39.1%), South Carolina (39.1%), Utah (36.6%), North Carolina (34.6%), Washington (33.9%); New Mexico (33.6%); Delaware (33.6%); Texas (33.2%); and Virginia (30.2%). The 17 jurisdictions with poverty rates at or over 10% for elderly during 2012 were: Mississippi (15.1%), Louisiana (12.6%), Kentucky (12.3%), District of Columbia (11.9%), New Mexico (11.9%), Texas (11.6%), New York (11.4%), Georgia (11.2%), Alabama (11.1%), Arkansas (10.9%), North Dakota (10.6%), California (10.4%), Florida (10.2%), South Carolina (10.1%), North Carolina (10.0%), South Dakota (10.0%), and Tennessee (10%).

Most persons 65+ lived in metropolitan areas in 2012 (81%). About 66% of these older persons lived outside principal cities and 34% lived inside principal cities. Also, 19% of older persons lived outside of metropolitan areas.

The elderly are less likely to change residence than other age groups. From 2012 to 2013, only 4% of older persons moved as opposed to 13% of the under 65 population. Most older movers (57%) stayed in the same county and 81% remained in the same state. Only 19% of the movers moved from out-of-state or abroad.

Figure 4 is a US state map showing the percent of persons over 65 in the population of each state.  The data may be found in the table in Figure 6. Figure 5 is a US state map showing the percent increase from 2002 to 2012 in the older population of each state.  The data may be found in the table in Figure 6.

Figure 6: The 65+ Population by State, 2012

State

Number of Persons 65 and Older

Percent of All Ages

Percent Increase
from 2002 to 2012

Percent Below Poverty 2012

 US Total (50 States + DC)

43,145,356

13.70%

21.46

9.10%

 Alabama

699,380

14.50%

19.59

11.10%

 Alaska

62,497

8.50%

58.89

4.40%

 Arizona

971,533

14.80%

39.55

8.30%

 Arkansas

442,590

15.00%

18.19

10.90%

 California

4,600,085

12.10%

24.58

10.40%

 Colorado

613,241

11.80%

41.65

7.80%

 Connecticut

532,712

14.80%

12.92

6.90%

 Delaware

140,474

15.30%

33.59

7.40%

 District of Columbia

71,889

11.40%

5.75

11.90%

 Florida

3,509,715

18.20%

22.80

10.20%

 Georgia

1,139,699

11.50%

40.12

11.20%

 Hawaii

210,801

15.10%

26.96

6.90%

 Idaho

212,578

13.30%

39.08

9.70%

 Illinois

1,694,437

13.20%

12.94

8.80%

 Indiana

889,148

13.60%

17.14

7.20%

 Iowa

470,305

15.30%

8.05

7.80%

 Kansas

394,269

13.70%

11.23

6.70%

 Kentucky

614,653

14.00%

20.97

12.30%

 Louisiana

595,205

12.90%

14.65

12.60%

 Maine

226,376

17.00%

21.15

8.20%

 Maryland

763,019

13.00%

24.14

7.60%

 Massachusetts

958,494

14.40%

12.19

9.30%

 Michigan

1,442,714

14.60%

17.25

8.30%

 Minnesota

729,767

13.60%

20.80

7.90%

 Mississippi

404,075

13.50%

17.26

15.10%

 Missouri

883,181

14.70%

16.35

9.00%

 Montana

158,289

15.70%

27.75

8.60%

 Nebraska

257,354

13.90%

10.55

7.40%

 Nevada

360,914

13.10%

49.32

8.10%

 New Hampshire

193,803

14.70%

28.33

6.60%

 New Jersey

1,250,555

14.10%

12.12

7.90%

 New Mexico

294,833

14.10%

33.62

11.90%

 New York

2,757,572

14.10%

11.59

11.40%

 North Carolina

1,347,869

13.80%

34.60

10.00%

 North Dakota

100,666

14.40%

6.75

10.60%

 Ohio

1,705,122

14.80%

12.76

8.00%

 Oklahoma

534,247

14.00%

16.93

9.90%

 Oregon

581,619

14.90%

29.82

7.50%

 Pennsylvania

2,042,861

16.00%

7.50

8.30%

 Rhode Island

158,629

15.10%

5.17

9.70%

 South Carolina

695,459

14.70%

39.07

10.10%

 South Dakota

122,183

14.70%

13.10

10.00%

 Tennessee

918,507

14.20%

28.08

10.00%

 Texas

2,839,295

10.90%

33.17

11.60%

 Utah

271,419

9.50%

36.61

6.80%

 Vermont

98,444

15.70%

24.39

7.50%

 Virginia

1,062,505

13.00%

30.23

7.90%

 Washington

908,417

13.20%

33.85

7.80%

 West Virginia

311,949

16.80%

12.59

8.80%

 Wisconsin

824,500

14.40%

16.15

7.50%

 Wyoming

75,508

13.10%

27.33

4.80%

 Puerto Rico

584,273

15.80%

29.38

39.70%


Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates; American Community Survey; and Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

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