The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics recently published its 2016 report on a host of facets impacting life for those aged 65 and older.  The report is over 200 pages along, inclusive of graphs, charts, references and glossary, and lays out an array of facts and figures that provide a window into the lives and challenges of those over 65.  Below are some of the more interesting findings:

  • By 2030, the American population aged 65 or over will balloon to an estimated 74 million, representing 21% of the total U.S. population. In 2014, the number of Americans age 65 or more numbered only 46 million.
  • Obesity has increased among older Americans, just as it has in other age groups. In 2011-2014, 35% were considered obese, whereas in 1988-1994, just 22% fell into this category.
  • In 2015, men aged 65-74 were more likely to be married (74%) than their female counterparts (58%). While this may be partially attributable to the fact that women tend to outlive men and to marry older men who may leave them widows, it is also true that men are more likely to remarry if widowed/divorced than women are.
  • Socialization declines with age. The percentage of leisure time spent socializing for those age 75 and over is just 9%. Younger people aged 55-64, who may still have much of their time filled by work-related activity, spend 11% of their leisure time socializing.
  • States showing high proportions of adults aged 65 and over include Florida, unsurprisingly, where 19% of the population is over 65. More strikingly, the following states also have relatively high proportions of seniors (all 16% or more): Maine, West Virginia, Vermont, Montana, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Hawaii and Oregon.
  • Reflective of social change over the last few decades, the gap between men’s and women’s labor force participation has narrowed. Among those aged 55-61, the labor force gap (men over women) in 2015 was just 11%.  Back in 1963, it was 46%.
  • Top causes of death for people 65 and older in 2014 were, in rank order, heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, unintentional injury, influenza and pneumonia.
  • Dementia seems to be deterred somewhat by education. In 2011, 21% of people aged 65 and over with less than a high school education had dementia.  Only 5% of the same age group with a Bachelor’s degree or higher were afflicted with dementia.
  • Driving, predictably, is an issue for seniors living outside institutional environments. Twenty-five percent of those aged 67 to 74 limit their driving to daytime, while 55% of those 85 and over do the same.  Of those over 65, 19% have given up driving completely, 24% report having trouble getting around, and 34% say they have reduced their travel due to health or physical problems.

To the full report, click the link below: