In 2011, the first group of Baby Boomers had 65 candles on their birthday cakes. The U.S. Census bureau has been periodically reporting on this group, and last month they released another special report, “65+ in the United States: 2010.”
Drawn from a variety of sources (census, surveys, vital statistics, population projections), the report extends our understanding of Americans age 65 and over. It is chock-full of research on the social and economic implications of the rapidly growing Baby Boom generation –of particular interest to policy makers.
Here are some interesting highlights — directly from the report.*
- In 2010, Internet usage among the older population was up 31 percentage points from the prior decade.
- In 2010, 71% of men aged 65 and over were married and living with their spouse, notably higher than the corresponding share among older women (42%). The percentage of widowed men aged 65 and over has declined from 18% in 1960 to 12% in 2010. Widowhood also declined among older women. In 1960, about half of women aged 65 and over were widows (52%), and this proportion decreased to 39% by 2010. Why the decline in widowhood? The divorce rate has increased, and so has longevity. The households of people age 65+ who are living alone has also risen. Cumulatively, these trends will affect the amount and nature of social supports needed by aging Baby Boomers.
- The median income for married couples and individuals aged 65 or older was $25,757 in 2010 and varied by marital status, race, Hispanic origin, and age (see Figure 3-8 below). Married couples had a median income of nearly $45,000, compared with just over $17,000 for non-married persons. The overwhelming majority of older adults receive Social Security, but its relative importance varies by income level.
- 9% of the 65 + population in the U.S. lives in poverty; another 5.7% live “near poverty.” Higher percentages of older women lived in or near poverty in 2010 than men.
- The population age 65 and over was the only age group to see an increase in voter participation in the 2012 presidential election compared with the 2008 presidential election.
- Above age 35, women outnumber men. There were 89 men per 100 women among those aged 66 to 69, and 38 men per 100 women among those aged 90 and over.
The full special report, “65+ in the United States: 2010″ can be accessed here.
*Source: U.S. Census Bureau, P23-212, 65+ in the United States: 2010, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2014