A Profile of Older Americans: 2006
The Older Population
The older population--persons 65 years or older--numbered 36.8
million in 2005 (the most recent year for which data are available). They
represented 12.4% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans.
The number of older Americans increased by 3.2 million or
9.4% since 1995,compared to an increase of 13.3% for the under-65
population. However, the number of
Americans aged 45-64 – who will reach 65 over the next two decades –
increased by 40% during this period.
In 2005, there were 21.4 million older women and 15.4 million older
men, or a sex ratio of 139 women for every 100 men. The female to male sex ratio
increases with age, ranging from 115 for the 65-69 age group to a high of 218
for persons 85 and over.
Since 1900, the percentage of Americans 65+ has tripled (from
4.1% in 1900 to 12.4% in 2004), and the number has increased almost twelveimes (from 3.1 million to 36.3 million).
The older population itself is getting older. In 2005, the 65-74 age
group (18.6 million) was over 8.5 times larger than in 1900, but the 75-84 group
(13.1 million) was 17 times larger and the 85+ group (5.1 million) was 42 times
In 2003, persons reaching age 65 had an average life
expectancy of an additional 18.4 years (19.8 years for females and 16.8 years
A child born in 2004 could expect to live 77.9 years, about
30 years longer than a child born in 1900. Much of this increase occurred because of reduced death rates
for children and young adults.However,
the period of 1983-2003 also has seen reduced death rates for the population
aged 65-84, especially for men – by 29.4% for men aged 65-74 and by 22.3% for
men aged 75-84.Life expectancy at
age 65 increased by only 2.5 years between 1900 and 1960, but has increased by
4.3 years from 1960 to 2004.
Over 2.0 million persons celebrated their 65th birthday in
2005. In the same year, about 1.8 million persons 65 or older died.Census estimates showed an annual net increase of almost 500,000 in the
number of persons 65 and over.
There were 70,104 persons aged 100 or more in 2005 (0.19% of
the total population).This is a
88% increase from the 1990 figure of 37,306.
for this section were compiled primarily from Internet releases of the U.S.
Bureau of the Census and the National Center for Health Statistics).
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