President John F. Kennedy first celebrated older Americans by designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month. After a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens, Kennedy encouraged all Americans to pay tribute to older people across the country.
Every president since has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May in support of older Americans. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation changed the name to Older Americans Month and it continues to be a celebration for those 65 and older.
Here are some facts about older Americans from the U.S. Census Bureau:
46.2 million is the number of people who were 65 and older in the United States on July 1, 2014. This group accounted for 14.5 percent of the total population. The 65 and older population grew from 44.7 million in 2013.
98.2 million is the projected population of people 65 and older in 2060. People in this age group would comprise nearly one in four U.S. residents at that time. Of this number, 19.7 million would be 85 or older.
2.4 million is the projected number of baby boomers in 2060. At that time, the youngest baby boomers would be 96 years old.
2033 is the year in which, for the first time, the population 65 and older would outnumber people younger than 18 in the U.S.
Income and Poverty
$36,895 is the 2014 median income of households with householders 65 and older.
10 percent is the percent of people 65 and older who were in poverty in 2014.
$170,516 was the median net worth for householders age 65 and older in 2011.
14.4 percent is the supplemental poverty rate for those age 65 or older, equating to 6.6 million people. Excluding Social Security would leave approximately half of this population in poverty.
Serving Our Nation
9.4 million is the estimated number of people 65 and older who were veterans of the U.S. armed forces in 2014.
21.5 percent was the labor force participation rate for men 65 and older in 2014, significantly higher than the rate for women 65 and older at 13.7 percent.
5.2 million is the number of full-time, year-round workers 65 and older with earnings in 2014.
3,470,646 is the number of responding business owners 65 and older, which is 15.6 percent of the responding business owners in firms with and without paid employees in 2012.
875,633 is the number of responding business owners 65 and older, which is 15.9 percent of the responding business owners in firms with paid employees in 2012.
1,132,051 is the number of responding women business owners 65 and older, which is 13.2 percent of the responding women business owners in firms with and without paid employees in 2012.
81.9 percent was the proportion of people 65 and older in 2014 who had completed high school or higher education.
24.8 percent was the percentage of the population 65 and older in 2014 who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Marital Status and Living Arrangements
57.6 percent was the percentage of people 65 and older who were married in 2015.
24.4 percent was the percentage of people 65 and older in 2015 who were widowed.
Computer and Internet Use
71 percent was the percentage of those 65 and older who reported living in homes with computers in 2013. Additionally, 62.4 percent accessed the internet through a high-speed internet connection.
59.4 percent was the percentage of citizens 65 and older who reported casting a ballot in the 2014 elections.
79.3 percent is the percentage of householders 65 and older who owned their homes as of fourth quarter 2015.
Services for the Older Population
4,815 is the number of continuing care retirement communities in 2012. These businesses employed 423,627 workers and generated $27.6 billion in revenues. In 2007, there were 5,373 such establishments, employing 416,402 people and producing $24.7 billion in revenues. These establishments provide a range of residential and personal care services with on-site nursing care facilities for the elderly and other people who are unable to fully care for themselves and the elderly and other people who do not desire to live independently. Individuals live in a variety of residential settings with meals, housekeeping, social, leisure and other services available to assist residents in daily living.
25,964 is the number of business establishments providing services for the elderly and people with disabilities in 2012. These businesses employed 901,359 workers and generated $34.1 billion in revenues. In 2007, there were 20,433 such establishments, employing 621,545 people and producing $25.3 billion in revenues. Senior citizens centers are among the establishments in this industry.
On the Map
19.1 percent is the percentage of Florida’s population that was 65 and older in 2014, followed by Maine (18.3 percent). Alaska had the lowest percentage (9.4 percent) followed by Utah (10.0 percent).
52.9 percent is the percentage of the population in Sumter, Fla., that was 65 and older in 2014, which led all of the nation’s counties. Chattahoochee County, Ga., had the lowest at 4.1 percent.
53,364 was the number of people age 100 and older counted by the 2010 Census.
20.7 is the number of centenarian men in 2010 for every 100 centenarian women.
43.5 percent is the 2010 percentage of centenarian men who lived with others in a household, the most common living arrangement for this group. For their female counterparts, the most common living arrangement was residing in a nursing home (35.2 percent).
3.29 was the number of centenarians per 10,000 people in North Dakota in 2010. North Dakota was the only state with more than three centenarians per 10,000 people.