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A Profile of Older Americans: 2010

Future Growth

The older population will continue to grow significantly in the future (see Figure 1). This growth slowed somewhat during the 1990's because of the relatively small number of babies born during the Great Depression of the 1930’. But the older population will burgeon between the years 2010 and 2030 when the “baby boom” generation reaches age 65.

The population 65 and over will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010 (a 15% increase) and then to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for that decade). By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, almost twice their number in 2008. People 65+ represented 12.9% of the population in the year 2009 but are expected to grow to be 19.3% of the population by 2030. The 85+ population is projected to increase from 5.6 million in 2009 to 5.8 million in 2010 and then to 6.6 million in 2020 (15%) for that decade.

Minority populations are projected to have increased from 5.7 million in 2000 (16.3% of the elderly population) to 8.0 million in 2010 (20.1% of the elderly) and then to 12.9 million in 2020 (23.6% of the elderly). Between 2010 and 2030, the white** population 65+ is projected to increase by 59% compared with 160% for older minorities, including Hispanics (202%), African-Americans** (114%), American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts** (145%), and Asians and Pacific Islanders** (145%).

Figure 1 - this chart shows the large increases in the older population from 3.1 million people in 1900 to 35 million in 2000 and project to 72.1 million in 2030

Note: Increments in years are uneven. (Sources: Projections for 2010 through 2050 are from: Table 12. Projections of the Population by Age and Sex for the United States: 2010 to 2050 (NP2008-T12), Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau; Release Date: August 14, 2008. The source of the data for 1900 to 2000 is Table 5. Population by Age and Sex for the United States: 1900 to 2000, Part A. Number, Hobbs, Frank and Nicole Stoops, U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, Series CENSR-4, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century. The figures for 2008 are from the U.S. Census Bureau 2008 population estimates. )

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600