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Americans age 65 or older are an important and growing segment of our population. Many Federal agencies provide data on various aspects of the challenges confronting older Americans. Because these data come from multiple agencies, it is sometimes difficult to understand how this group is faring overall. In light of the anticipated growth of this segment of our population, it is increasingly important for policymakers and the general public to have an accessible, easy to understand portrait that shows how older Americans are doing. This new interagency report, Older Americans 2000: Key Indicators of Well-Being (Older Americans), provides a unified picture of the health and well-being of our older population.

This is the first chartbook prepared by the Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics (Forum), a coalition of nine Federal agencies (Administration on Aging; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Census Bureau; Health Care Financing Administration; National Center for Health Statistics; National Institute on Aging; Office of Management and Budget; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services; and Social Security Administration). The work of the Forum also benefitted from substantial contributions by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Department of Justice; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Department of Transportation; and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Department of Agriculture.

This publication provides 31 key indicators about older Americans, categorized into five broad groups: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. While Federal agencies currently collect and report substantial information on the population age 65 and older, there remain several important areas where there are gaps in our knowledge. This chartbook concludes with a discussion of data needs that the Forum has identified. By displaying what the government knows, and what it does not know, this report challenges the Federal statistical agencies to do even better.

The agencies participating in the Forum should be congratulated on the effort that went into creating Older Americans. They joined together to give the American people a valuable tool for tracking the condition of those who are age 65 or older, and for making policy decisions that will affect them. The Forum anticipates publishing additional volumes of this chartbook on a periodic basis, every three to five years.

We hope you will find this compendium a useful contribution to your work, and invite you to suggest ways we can enhance this portrait of our population age 65 and older. Please send comments to us at the Forum’s website (www.agingstats.gov).

Katherine K. Wallman
Chief Statistician
Office of Management and Budget

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600 7:00:00 PM