Quick Facts About Seniors 

Population Total

35.0 million
The number of people 65 and over in the United States who were counted in Census 2000. That is about 12 percent of the total population. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

Income and Poverty

Median household income for householders 65 and over in 2000. This was down 2.3 percent from 1999 after adjustment for inflation. http://www.census.gov/hhes

The poverty rate in 2000 for people 65 and over, statistically unchanged from their historic low in 1999. However, this population group did experience a slight numeric increase from 3.2 million to 3.4 million. http://www.census.gov/hhes


Proportion of people 65 and over in the civilian labor force in 2000. http://www.census.gov/

Among employed people 65 and over, women were less likely than men to work in executive, administrative and managerial occupations in 2000 (12 percent versus 19 percent). Women, on the other hand, worked more frequently in administrative support jobs than did men (28 percent versus 6 percent). http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

Back to School

Number of people 65 and over enrolled in college in October 2000. http://www.census.gov/population

In 2000, 22 percent of men and 11 percent of women ages 65 to 84 and 17 percent of men and 11 percent of women age 85 and older had college degrees. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

Marital Status and Living Arrangements

The percentage of people 65 and over living in nursing homes, down from 5.1 percent in 1990, according to Census 2000. The decline over the 10-year period was particularly sharp among those age 85 and over: 18.2 percent resided in nursing homes in 2000; 24.5 percent did so in 1990. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www


Percentage of citizens ages 65 to 74 who voted in the 2000 presidential elections, the highest rate of any age group. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release


Proportion of householders 65 to 74 who owned the home in which they lived, according to Census 2000. This is the highest homeownership rate of any age group. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

Coming to America

Percentage of U.S. residents 65 and over in 2000 who were foreign-born themselves or had at least one foreign-born parent. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

Population Distribution


  • The decade leading up to Census 2000 was the first time in census history when the population 65-years-old and over did not grow faster than the total population. (The older population increased by 12 percent between 1990 and 2000, compared with 13 percent for the total population.) This relatively slow growth was attributed to the relatively low number of births in the late 1920s and early 1930s. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www

  • During the current decade, the 65-and-over population will once again begin growing at rates exceeding those of the total U.S. population. Annual percentage increases of the older population will increase to at least double those of the total population during the 2008-2010 period and to three to four times those of the total population from 2011 (when the "baby boomers" begin to reach 65) through 2025. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www

  • During the 1990s, the most rapid growth in the older population occurred among the oldest age groups: the population 85 years and over increased by 38 percent, from 3.1 million in 1990 to 4.2 million in 2000. http://www.census.gov

The U.S. rank among all countries in number of people 80 and over in 2000. (China ranked first.) Although the United States contains 5 percent of the world's total population, it has 13 percent of all people 80 and over. http://www.census.gov/

The number of men 65 and over in 2000 for every 100 women in this age group; in 1990, the ratio was 67. The male-female ratio drops steadily by age group, from 82 for those in the 65-to-74 age group to 41 for those 85 and over. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

Number of centenarians counted in Census 2000, about 1 in every 5,578 people. In 1990, centenarians numbered 37,306 people, or 1 in every 6,667. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

States, Counties and Cities

Percentage growth in Nevada's 65-and-over population between 1990 and 2000. Nevada led the nation in rate of growth of the older population, followed by Alaska (60 percent), Arizona (39 percent) and New Mexico (30 percent). http://www.census.gov/Press-Release

Proportion of Florida residents who were 65 and over in Census 2000. Among states, Florida edged out Pennsylvania (16 percent) and West Virginia (15 percent) for the highest proportion. http://www.census.gov/

Percentage of residents of Charlotte County, Fla., who in Census 2000 reported they were 65 and over -- the highest proportion of any county in the nation. Among places with populations of 100,000 or more, Clearwater, Fla., had the highest percentage of older people: 21 percent. http://www.census.gov/

According to Census 2000, the ratio of centenarians to the total population in South Dakota. Centenarians were more common in the home of Mount Rushmore than in any other state, with Iowa (1 centenarian for every 3,110 people) coming in second. http://www.census.gov/


The most popular form of recreation among people 65 and over, by far, is exercise walking. In 1999, 12.7 million people in this age category, more than 1-in-3, engaged in this activity at least six times during the year. Other popular forms of exercise included swimming (3.8 million participants) and exercising with equipment (3.6 million). http://www.census.gov/



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