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Administration on Aging (AoA)

A Profile of Older Americans: 2011

Living Arrangements

Over half (55.1%) the older noninstitutionalized persons lived with their spouse in 2010. Approximately 11.7 million or 69.9% of older men, and 9.0 million or 41.3% of older women, lived with their spouse (Figure 3). The proportion living with their spouse decreased with age, especially for women. Only 30.4% of women 75+ years old lived with a spouse.

About 29.3% (11.3 million) of all noninstitutionalized older persons in 2010 lived alone (8.1 million women, 3.2 million men). They represented 37.3% of older women and 19.1% of older men. The proportion living alone increases with advanced age. Among women aged 75 and over, for example, almost half (47%) lived alone.

Approximately 746,000 grandparents aged 65 or over maintained households in which grandchildren were present in 2010. (Another 275,000 elderly were spouses of such people.) In addition, about 955,000 grandparents over 65 years lived in parent-maintained households in which their grandchildren were present. A total of about 1.94 million older people lived in household with a grandchild present in the house. About 485,000 of these grandparents over 65 years old were the persons with primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.

A relatively small number (1.5 million) and percentage (4.1%) of the 65+ population in 2009 lived in institutional settings such as nursing homes (1.3 million). However, the percentage increases dramatically with age, ranging (in 2009) from 1.1% for persons 65-74 years to 3.5% for persons 75-84 years and 13.2% for persons 85+. In addition, approximately 2.4% of the elderly lived in senior housing with at least one supportive service available to their residents.

Figure 3: Living Arrangements of Persons 65+, 2010

Figure 3M shows that 70% of older men live with a spouse and 19% live alone while 11% live in other arrangements. Figure 3F shows that 41% of older women live with a spouse and 37% live alone while 21% live in other arrangements.

(Based on data from U.S. Census Bureau including the 2010 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement and the 2010 American Community Survey. See: November 2010 Current Population Survey Internet releases, Detailed Tables and data from the 2009 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey retrieved from Health Data Interactive, 11/29/2011; also the 2007 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey)

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Last Modified: 8/25/2014