Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Announcing the 2017 Profile of Older Americans

The 2017 summary of statistics on the older population compiled primarily from U.S. Census data, is now available as a web-based publication along with data tables and charts in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. The Profile has proven to be a very useful statistical summary and serves as a resource for all professionals with an interest in the changing demographics of the population age 65 and over.

Here are some highlights from the 2017 Profile of Older Americans:

• Over the past 10 years, the population age 65 and over increased from 37.2 million in 2006 to 49.2 million in 2016 (a 33% increase) and is projected to almost double to 98 million in 2060.

• The age 85 and over population is projected to more than double from 6.4 million in 2016 to 14.6 million in 2040 (a 129% increase).

• Racial and ethnic minority populations have increased from 6.9 million in 2006 (19% of the older adult population) to 11.1 million in 2016 (23% of older adults) and are projected to increase to 21.1 million in 2030 (28% of older adults).

• About one in every seven, or 15.2%, of the population is an older American.

• Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.4 years (20.6 years for females and 18 years for males).

• Older women outnumber older men at 27.5 million older women to 21.8 million older men.

• About 28% (13.8 million) of noninstitutionalized older persons lived alone (9.3 million women, 4.5 million men).

• Almost half of older women (45%) age 75 and over lived alone.

• The need for caregiving increases with age. In January-June 2017, the percentage of older adults age 85 and over needing help with personal care (22%) was more than twice the percentage for adults ages 75–84 (9%) and more than six times the percentage for adults ages 65–74 (3%).

· Please share the 2017 Profile with other interested parties. Previous years’ publication and data are also available on the website.


1. Principal sources of data for the Profile are the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Profile incorporates the latest data available but not all items are updated on an annual basis.

2. This report includes data on the 65 and over population unless otherwise noted. The phrases “older adults” or “older persons” refer to the population age 65 and over.

3. Numbers in this report may not add up due to rounding.

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