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A Profile of Older Americans: 2010

Living Arrangements

Over half (54.8%) the older noninstitutionalized persons lived with their spouse in 2009. Approximately 11.4 million or 72.0% of older men, and 8.7 million or 40.7% of older women, lived with their spouse (Figure 3). The proportion living with their spouse decreased with age, especially for women. Only 28.2% of women 75+ years old lived with a spouse.

About 30.1% (11.4 million) of all noninstitutionalized older persons in 2009 lived alone (8.3 million women, 3.0 million men). They represented 38.8% of older women and 18.7% of older men. The proportion living alone increases with advanced age. Among women aged 75 and over, for example, half (49%) lived alone.

Approximately 716,000 grandparents aged 65 or over maintained households in which grandchildren were present in 2009. (Another 262,000 elderly were spouses of such people.) In addition, about 942,000 grandparents over 65 years lived in parent-maintained households in which their grandchildren were present. A total of about 1.91 million older people lived in household with a grandchild present in the house. About 475,000 of these grandparents over 65 years old were the persons with primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.

A relatively small number (1.6 million) and percentage (4.1%) of the 65+ population in 2009 lived in institutional settings such as nursing homes (1.4 million). However, the percentage increases dramatically with age, ranging (in 2007) from 0.9% for persons 65-74 years to 3.5% for persons 75-84 years and 14.3% for persons 85+. In addition, approximately 2.4% of the elderly lived in senior housing with at least one supportive service available to their residents.

Figure 3: Living Arrangements of Persons 65+, 2009

Figure 3F shows that 42% of older women live with a spouse and 39% live alone while 19% live in other arrangements  Figure 3M shows that 72% of older men live with a spouse and 19% live alone while 9% live in other arrangements.

(Based on data from U.S. Census Bureau including the 2009 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement and the 2009 American Community Survey. See: March 2009 Current Population Survey Internet releases, Detailed Tables and unpublished data from the 2007 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.)

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