Over 65: A Demographic Snapshot

American society is getting older. Here's a 2010 statistical snapshot of the growing segment of the population 65 and over.

  • The percent of people ages 65 and over living in the United States increased 15.3 percent between 2000 and 2010 to 40.4 million people. The population is expected to grow to 55 million people in 2020 - an increase of 36 percent.
  • In the next 20 years, the number of Americans between 45 and 64 years old will increase by 31 percent.
  • One in every eight Americans (13.1 percent) was over 65.
  • On average at age 65, men can expect to live 17.3 more years; women, 20 more.
  • Older women outnumbered men in 2010: 23 million women to 17.5 million men. 
  • In 2010, 20 percent of people over 65 were racial or ethnic minorities: 8.4 percent were African-Americans, 6.9 percent were Hispanics, 3.5 percent were Asian or Pacific Islanders, and less than 1 percent were American Indian or Native Alaskan.
  • Older men were much more likely to be married than their female counterparts - 72 percent of men were married compared with 42 percent of women. Forty percent of older women were widows.
  • Nearly a third of older people who did not live in institutions lived alone. Forty-seven percent of women over 75 lived on their own.
  • About 485,000 grandparents over 65 were primarily responsible for grandchildren who lived with them.
  • In 2010, the median income for people over 65 was $25,704 for men and $15,072 for women. The major sources of income in 2009 were: Social Security (87 percent), income from assets (53 percent), private pensions (28 percent), government-employee pensions (14 percent), and earnings (26 percent)
  • Nine percent of elderly people lived below the poverty line in 2010.

Source: Association on Aging