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A Profile of Older Americans: 2008

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 2007, about half (52.4%) of persons 65+ lived in nine states. California had 4.0 million; Florida 3.1 million; New York 2.5 million; Texas 2.4 million; and Pennsylvania 1.9 million, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and New Jersey each had well over 1 million (Figure 6).

Person 65+ constituted approximately 14% or more of the total population in 10 states in 2007 (Figure 6): Florida (18.5%); Pennsylvania (15.8%); Rhode Island (15.8%) West Virginia (15.1%); Iowa (15.0%); North Dakota (14.4%); Connecticut (14.4); Arkansas (14.3%); South Dakota (14.3%); and Massachusetts (14.1%). In ten states, the 65+ population increased by 20% or more between 1997 and 2007 (Figure 6): Alaska (49.6%); Nevada (48.3%); Arizona (36.2%); Utah (30.0%); New Mexico (29.7%); Idaho (27.8%); Georgia (27.7%); South Carolina (26.3%) ; Colorado (25.2%); and Delaware (24.7%). The ten jurisdictions with the highest poverty rates for elderly during 2007 were the District of Columbia (14.6%), Mississippi (14.5%), North Dakota (14.4%), Kentucky (13.1%), Louisiana (13.1%), New Mexico (13.0%), Georgia (12.2%), South Carolina (12.1%), Texas (12.0%), and Alabama (11.9%).

Most persons 65+ lived in metropolitan areas in 2007 (80.5%). About 63.3% of these older persons lived outside the principal cities and 36.7% lived in principal cities. Also, 19.5% of older persons lived in nonmetropolitan areas.

The elderly are less likely to change residence than other age groups. From 2006 to 2007, only 4.2% of older persons moved as opposed to 17.0% of the under 65 population. Most older movers (57.9%) stayed in the same county and 78.9% remained in the same state. Only 21.1% of the movers moved out-of-state.

(Data for this section and for Figures 4-6 were compiled primarily from the Census Population Estimates for 2007 as well as other Internet releases of the U.S. Bureau of the Census including tables from the March 2008 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement and the 2007 American Community survey)


Figure 4: Persons 65+ as a Percentage of Total Population - 2007

Figure 4 is a state map of the US showing the percent of persons over 65 in the population of each state. This data may be found in the table Figure 6.

Figure 5: Percentage Increase in Population 65+ -- 1997 to 2007

Figure 5 is a US state map showing the perent increase 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 2007

Numbers Number of Persons 65 and Older Percent 65+ of the Total Population Percent Increase in numbers  from 1997 to 2007 Percent Below Poverty 2007
 US Total (50 States + DC) 37,887,958 12.6% 11.2% 9.7%
 Alabama 625,756 13.5% 11.5% 11.9%
Alaska 47,935 7.0% 49.6% 5.0%
 Arizona 820,391 12.9% 36.2% 8.6%
 Arkansas 397,108 14.0% 10.3% 11.9%
 California 4,003,593 11.0% 12.1% 8.1%
 Colorado 492,685 10.1% 25.2% 8.9%
 Connecticut 472,284 13.5% 0.6% 6.2%
 Delaware 117,678 13.6% 24.7% 8.6%
 District of Columbia 69,741 11.9% -5.0% 14.6%
 Florida 3,098,364 17.0% 14.4% 9.5%
 Georgia 942,832 9.9% 27.7% 12.2%
 Hawaii 183,994 14.3% 17.4% 6.5%
 Idaho 174,946 11.7% 27.8% 8.6%
 Illinois 1,548,781 12.1% 4.6% 8.6%
 Indiana 795,441 12.5% 8.4% 7.8%
 Iowa 438,448 14.7% 2.1% 8.1%
 Kansas 360,216 13.0% 2.5% 8.7%
 Kentucky 549,504 13.0% 12.4% 13.1%
 Louisiana 522,334 12.2% 5.1% 13.1%
 Maine 194,986 14.8% 12.5% 8.2%
 Maryland 661,809 11.8% 13.4% 7.8%
 Massachusetts 858,939 13.3% -0.4% 9.2%
 Michigan 1,280,152 12.7% 5.4% 8.1%
 Minnesota 636,216 12.2% 10.1% 8.1%
 Mississippi 364,614 12.5% 9.5% 14.5%
 Missouri 788,371 13.4% 6.5% 9.4%
 Montana 133,578 13.9% 15.0% 8.9%
 Nebraska 236,648 13.3% 4.0% 8.4%
 Nevada 285,654 11.1% 48.3% 6.6%
 New Hampshire 165,742 12.6% 17.2% 6.2%
 New Jersey 1,134,636 13.1% 2.6% 8.5%
 New Mexico 250,235 12.7% 29.7% 13.0%
 New York 2,546,405 13.2% 4.9% 11.8%
 North Carolina 1,103,413 12.2% 18.9% 11.0%
 North Dakota 93,285 14.6% 0.8% 14.4%
 Ohio 1,545,085 13.5% 3.4% 8.1%
 Oklahoma 480,140 13.3% 8.0% 10.3%
 Oregon 488,936 13.0% 13.6% 8.6%
 Pennsylvania 1,889,660 15.2% -0.8% 8.8%
 Rhode Island 146,847 13.9% -5.9% 9.1%
 South Carolina 573,098 13.0% 26.3% 12.1%
 South Dakota 113,555 14.3% 7.9% 10.9%
 Tennessee 793,117 12.9% 18.4% 11.8%
 Texas 2,394,157 10.0% 22.2% 12.0%
 Utah 233,982 8.8% 30.0% 5.3%
 Vermont 84,425 13.6% 16.9% 7.3%
 Virginia 909,522 11.8% 20.4% 9.3%
 Washington 757,852 11.7% 17.1% 7.5%
 West Virginia 280,666 15.5% 2.3% 10.4%
 Wisconsin 736,301 13.1% 7.7% 8.3%
 Wyoming 63,901 12.2% 17.7% 4.6%

(Source: Population data is from Census Bureau 2007 Population Estimates. State level poverty data is from the Census 2007 American Community Survey. National level poverty data is from the 2007 Current Population Survey/American Social and Economic Survey.)

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600