A Profile of Older Americans: 2003
- The older population (65+) numbered 35.6 million
in 2002, an increase of 3.3 million or 10.2% since 1992.
number of Americans aged 45-64 – who will reach 65
over the next two decades – increased by 38% during this
- About one in every eight, or 12.3 percent, of the population
is an older American.
- Over 2.0 million persons celebrated their
65th birthday in 2002.
- Persons reaching age 65 have an average
life expectancy of an additional 18.1 years (19.4 years for
females and 16.4 years
- Older women outnumber older men at 20.8 million
older women to 14.8 million older men.
- Older men were much more
likely to be married than older women--73% of men vs. 41% of
women (Figure 2). Almost half of all older
women in 2002 were widows (46%).
- About 31 percent (10.5 million)
of noninstitutionalized older persons live alone (7.9 million
women, 2.6 million men).
- Half of older women age 75+ live alone.
- Almost 400,000 grandparents
aged 65 or more had the primary responsibility for their grandchildren
who lived with them.
- By the year 2030, the older population
will more than double to 71.5 million.
- The 85+ population is
projected to increase from 4.6 million in 2002 to 9.6 million
- Members of minority groups are projected to represent
26.4 percent of the older population in 2030, up from 16.4
- The median income of older persons in 2002 was $19,436 for
males and $11,406 for females. Median money income of all households
headed by older people (after adjusting for inflation) fell
from 2001 to 2002; however, this difference was not statistically
- The Social Security Administration reported that
the major sources of income for older people was:
- Social Security (reported
by 91 percent of older persons),
- Income from assets (reported
by 58 percent),
- Public and private pensions (reported by
40 percent), and
- Earnings (reported by 22 percent).
- About 3.6 million older
persons lived below the poverty level in 2002. The poverty
rate for older persons was 10.4%
in 2002 which is not statistically different from the rate in 2001. Another
2.2 million or 6.4% of the elderly were classified
as "near-poor" (income
between the poverty level and 125% of this level).
*Principal sources of data for the Profile are the U.S. Bureau
of the Census, the National Center on Health Statistics, and
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Profile incorporates the
latest data available but not all items are updated on an annual
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Last Modified: 12/31/1600