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A Profile of Older Americans: 2003

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's. But the older population will burgeon between the years 2010 and 2030 when the "baby boom" generation reaches age 65.

By 2030, there will be about 71.5 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. People 65+ represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000 but are expected to grow to be 20% of the population by 2030. The 85+ population is projected to increase from 4.6 million in 2002 to 9.6 million in 2030.

Minority populations are projected to represent 26.4% of the elderly population in 2030, up from 17.2% in 2002. Between 2000 and 2030, the white** population 65+ is projected to increase by 77% compared with 223% for older minorities, including Hispanics (342%), African-Americans** (164%), American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts** (207%), and Asians and Pacific Islanders** (302%).

Figure 1: Number of Persons 65+ - 1900 - 2030 (in millions)

Note: Increments in years are uneven.

(Sources: Projections of the Population by Age are taken from the January 2004 Census Internet Release. Historical data are taken from "65+ in the United States," Current Population Reports, Special Studies, P23-190 Data for 2000 are from the 2000 Census and 2002 data are taken from the Census estimates for 2002.)

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