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A Profile of Older Americans: 2004

Living Arrangements

Over half (53.9%) the older noninstitutionalized persons lived with their spouse in 2003. Approximately 10.3 million or 71.2% of older men, and 8.1 million or 41.1% of older women, lived with their spouse (Figure 3). The proportion living with their spouse decreased with age, especially for women. Only 28.7% of women 75+ years old lived with a spouse.

About 30.8% (10.5 million) of all noninstitutionalized older persons in 2003 lived alone (7.8 million women, 2.7 million men). They represented 39.7 of older women and 18.8% of older men. The proportion living alone increases with advanced age. Among women aged 75 and over, for example, half (49.8%) lived alone.

About 643,000 grandparents aged 65 or over maintained households in which grandchildren were present in 2003. (Another 215,000 elderly were spouses of such people.) In addition, 453,000 grandparents over 65 years lived in parent- maintained households in which their grandchildren were present. About 416,000 grandparents over 65 years old were the persons with primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.

While a relatively small number (1.56 million) and percentage (4.5%) of the 65+ population lived in nursing homes in 2000, the percentage increases dramatically with age, ranging from 1.1% for persons 65-74 years to 4.7% for persons 75-84 years and 18.2% for persons 85+. In addition, approximately 5% of the elderly lived in self-described senior housing of various types, many of which have supportive services available to their residents.


Figure 3:  Living Arrangements of Persons 65+: 2003


Living arrangement of men 65 and older. 71 percent are living with a spouse, 19 percent are living alone and 10 percent have other living arrangements.The living arrangements of women 65 and older.  41 percent are living with a spouse, 40 percent are living alone and 19 percent have other living arrangements

(Based on data from U.S. Bureau of the Census including the 2003 Current Population Survey and the 2003 American Community Survey.  See: March 2003 Current Population Survey Internet releases. See also: "America’s Families and Living Arrangements; Population Characteristics: June, 2001, Current Population Reports, P20-537” and “The 65 Years and Over Population: 2000, Census 2000 Brief, October, 2001” as well as other Census 2000 data and unpublished data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.)


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