Aging America: In the United States, the population age 65 and over numbered 49.2 million in 2016 (the most recent year for which data are available). They represented 15.2% of the population, about one in every seven Americans. The number of older Americans increased by 12.1 million or 33% since 2006, compared to an increase of 5% for the under-65 population.
Between 2006 and 2016, the number of Americans aged 45-64 (who will reach age 65 over the next two decades) increased by 12% and the number of Americans age 60 and over increased by 36% from 50.7million to 68.7 million.
In 2016, among the population age 65 and over there were 27.5 million women and 21.8 million men, or a sex ratio of 126 women for every 100 men. At age 85 and over, this ratio increased to 187 women for every 100 men.
Since 1900, the percentage of Americans age 65 and over has more than tripled (from 4.1% in 1900 to 15.2% in 2016), and the number has increased over fifteen times (from 3.1 million to 49.2 million). The older population itself is increasingly older. In 2016, the 65-74 age group (28.6 million) was more than 13 times larger than in 1900 (2,186,767); the 75-84 group (14.2 million) was more than 18 times larger (771,369), and the 85+ group (6.4 million) was 52 times larger (122,362).
In 2016, persons reaching age 65 had an average life expectancy of an additional 19.4 years (20.6 years for females and 18 years for males). A child born in 2016 could expect to live 78.6 years, more than 30 years longer than a child born in 1900 (47.3 years). Much of this increase occurred because of reduced death rates for children and young adults. However, the period of 1990-2007 also has seen reduced death rates for the population aged 65- 84, especially for men – by 41.6% for men aged 65-74 and by 29.5% for men aged 75-84. Life expectancy at age 65 increased by only 2.5 years between 1900 and 1960, but has increased by 4.2 years from 1960 to 2007. Nonetheless, some research has raised concerns about future increases in life expectancy in the US compared to other high-income countries, primarily due to past smoking and current obesity levels, especially for women age 50 and over (National Research Council, 2011).
In 2016, 3.5 million persons celebrated their 65th birthday. Census estimates showed an annual net increase between 2015 and 2016 of 1.5 million in the number of persons age 65 and over.
Between 1980 and 2016, the centenarian population experienced a larger percentage increase than did the total population. There were 81,896 persons age 100 and over in 2016 (0.2% of the total age 65 and over population). This is more than double the 1980 figure of 32,194.
Taken from A Profile of Older Americans: 2017 developed by the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AoA serves as an advocate for older adults within the federal government and is working to encourage and coordinate a responsive system of family and community based services throughout the nation. AoA helps states develop comprehensive service systems which are administered by 56 State Units on Aging, 629 Area Agencies on Aging, 263 Tribal organizations, and 1 Native Hawaiian organization.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Selected Age Groups by Sex for the United States, States, Counties, and Puerto Rico Commonwealth and Municipios: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016. Release Date: June 2017; Table 1. Intercensal Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Age for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010. Release Date: September 2011; Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Single Year of Age and Sex for the United States, States, Counties, and Puerto Rico Commonwealth and Municipios: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016. Release Date: June 2017; 2010 Census Special Reports, Centenarians: 2010, C2010SR-03, 2012; Hobbs, Frank and Nicole Stoops, Census 2000 Special Reports, Series CENSR-4, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, Table 5. Population by Age and Sex for the United States: 1900 to 2000, Part A; National Center for Health Statistics, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Arias E. Mortality in the United States, 2016. NCHS data brief, no 293. Hyattsville, MD: December 2017; and National Research Council, Crimmins EM, Preston SH, Cohen B, editors. Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries. Panel on Understanding Divergent Trends in Longevity in High-Income Countries, 2011.