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A Profile of Older Americans: 2002

Future Growth

The older population will continue to grow significantly in the future (see Figure 1). This growth  slowed somewhat during the 1990's because of the relatively small number of babies born during the Great Depression of the 1930's. But the older population will burgeon between the years 2010 and 2030 when the "baby boom" generation reaches age 65.

By 2030, there will be about 70 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. People 65+ represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000 but are expected to grow to be 20% of the population by 2030.

Minority populations are projected to represent 25.4% of the elderly population in 2030, up from 16.4% in 2000. Between 1999 and 2030, the white** population 65+ is projected to increase by 81% compared with 219% for older minorities, including Hispanics (328%), African-Americans** (131%), American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts** (147%), and Asians and Pacific Islanders** (285%).
Figure 1: Number of Persons over the age of 65, from 1900 to 2030. 1900 shows 3.1 million, 1920 shows 4.9 million, 1940 shows 9 million, 1960 shows 16.7 million, 1980 shows 25.7 million, 1990 shows 31.2 million, 2000 shows 35 million, 2010 shows 39.7 million, 2020 shows 53.7 million, and 2030 shows 70.3 million.

Note: Increments in years are uneven. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census

**Excludes persons of Hispanic origin.

(Sources: “Projections of the Total Resident Population by 5 Year Age Groups, Race, and Hispanic Origin with Special Age Categories: Middle Series, 1999 to 2000,” U.S. Census Internet Release Date: January 13,2000 with "Population Projections of the United States by Age, Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin: 1995-2050," Current Population Reports, P25-1130.  Data for 2000 are from the 2000 Census.)

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