Number of Older Americans growth of the population age 65 and over affects many aspects of our society, challenging families, businesses, health care providers, and policymakers, among others, to meet the needs of aging individuals.In 2010, 40 million people age 65 and over lived in the United States, accounting for 13 percent of the total population. The older population grew from 3 million in 1900 to 40 million in 2010. The oldest-old population (those age 85 and over) grew from just over 100,000 in 1900 to 5.5 million in 2010. The “Baby Boomers” (those born between 1946 and 1964) started turning 65 in 2011, and the number of older people will increase dramatically during the 2010–2030 period. The older population in 2030 is projected to be twice as large as their counterparts in 2000, growing from 35 million to 72 million and representing nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population.
The growth rate of the older population is projected to slow after 2030, when the last “Baby Boomers” enter the ranks of the older population. From 2030 onward, the proportion age 65 and over will be relatively stable, at around 20 percent, even though the absolute number of people age 65 and over is projected to continue to grow. The oldest-old population is projected to grow rapidly after 2030, when the “Baby Boomers” move into this age group. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population age 85 and over could grow from 5.5 million in 2010 to 19 million by 2050. Some researchers predict that death rates at older ages will decline more rapidly than is reflected in the U.S. Census Bureau’s projections, which could lead to faster growth of this population.The proportion of the population age 65 and over varies by state.