Thursday, March 09, 2006

Changes in U.S. Population

The face of aging in the United States is changing dramatically -- and rapidly, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report, commissioned by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Today’s older Americans are very different from their predecessors, living longer, having lower rates of disability, achieving higher levels of education and less often living in poverty. And the baby boomers, the first of whom celebrated their 60th birthdays in 2006, promise to redefine further what it means to grow older in America.

Among the trends:
The United States population aged 65 and over is expected to double in size within the next 25 years. By 2030, almost 1 out of every 5 Americans -- some 72 million people -- will be 65 years or older. The age group 85 and older is now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.

The financial circumstances of older people have improved dramatically, although there are wide variations in income and wealth.

As the United States as a whole grows more diverse, so does the population aged 65 and older. In 2003, older Americans were 83 percent non-Hispanic White, 8 percent Black, 6 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian. By 2030, an estimated 72 percent of older Americans will be non-Hispanic White, 11 percent Hispanic, 10 percent Black and 5 percent Asian.

Changes in the American family have significant implications for future aging. In 1960, only 1.6 percent of older men and 1.5 percent of women aged 65 and older were divorced. In 2003, among people in their early 60s, 12.2 percent of men and 15.9 percent of women were divorced.

The report, 65+ in the United States: 2005, was prepared for NIA, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The public can view and also download the report at

Dramatic Changes in U.S. Aging Highlighted in New Census, NIH Report


At 3/13/2006 07:37:00 AM, Anonymous Cristobal said...

It seems like every older generation thinks that the younger generations are dumber than they were. "Kids today with their video games!!!! When I was a kid we read books dagnabbit!!!" Politicians play into this by constantly bemoaning the decline of our educational system. Since this kind of thinking is so ingrained in us, I was most surprised by the stats about eduction in this article.

"The proportion of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree grew five-fold from 1950 to 2003, from 3.4 percent to 17.4 percent....The percentage completing high school quadrupled between 1950 and 2003, from 17.0 percent to 71.5 percent..."

Sure there's always room for improvement and the Indians are going to kick our ass an blah blah blah but in general, Americans are much better educated now than they were in previous generations. So the next time your grampa says, "We used to read books dagnabbit!!!" You can say, "No you didn't. You and your friends were lucky if you could read at all!!!" Then you better haul ass outta there because old people really hate smart asses.


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