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A Profile of Older Americans: 2007

Living Arrangements

Over half (54.8%) the older noninstitutionalized persons lived with their spouse in 2006. Approximately 10.9 million or 71.9% of older men, and 8.5 million or 41.9% of older women, lived with their spouse (Figure 3). The proportion living with their spouse decreased with age, especially for women. Only 29.8% of women 75+ years old lived with a spouse.

About 30.3% (10.7 million) of all noninstitutionalized older persons in 2006 lived alone (7.8 million women, 2.9 million men). They represented 38.4 of older women and 19.4% of older men. The proportion living alone increases with advanced age. Among women aged 75 and over, for example, half (48%) lived alone.

More than 670,000 grandparents aged 65 or over maintained households in which grandchildren were present in 2006.  (Another 220,000 elderly were spouses of such people.)  In addition, over 800,000 grandparents over 65 years lived in parent- maintained households in which their grandchildren were present.  A total of about 1.78 million older people lived in household with a grandchild present in the house. About 450,000 of these grandparents over 65 years old were the persons with primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.

While a relatively small number (1.62 million) and percentage (4.4%) of the 65+ population in 2006 lived in institutional settings such as nursing homes, the percentage increases dramatically with age, ranging from 1.3% for persons 65-74 years to 4.4% for persons 75-84 years and 15.4% for persons 85+.  In addition, approximately 2%-5% (depending on the definition) of the elderly lived in senior housing with at least one supportive service available to their residents.

Figure 3: Living Arrangements of Persons 65+, 2006

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 42% of older women live with a spouse (as compared to 72% of older men) and 40% live alone (as compared to 19% of older men). 19% of older women live in other arrangements.

(Based on data from U.S. Bureau of the Census including the 2007 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement and the 2006 American Community Survey.  See:  March 2007 Current Population Survey Internet releases, Detailed Tables and unpublished data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.)

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AoA - Statistics - A Profile of Older Americans 2007 - Racial and Ethnic Composition