Skip Navigation
Link to HHS Website Department of Health & Human Services
Link to Administration on Aging HomePage
  Home > Aging Statistics > Profile of Older Americans
About AoA
Press Room
Elders & Families
Emergency Preparedness
Aging Statistics
AoA Programs
Program Results
Grant Opportunities
AoA Funded Resource Centers

A Profile of Older Americans: 2011


In 2009, 6.7 million (17.4 %) Americans age 65 and over were in the labor force (working or actively seeking work), including 3.7 million men (22.1%) and 3.0 million women (13.8%). They constituted 4.4% of the U.S. labor force. About 6.7% were unemployed. Labor force participation of men 65+ decreased steadily from 2 of 3 in 1900 to 15.8% in 1985; then stayed at 16%-18% until 2002; and has been increasing since then to over 20%. The participation rate for women 65+ rose slightly from 1 of 12 in 1900 to 10.8% in 1956, fell to 7.3% in 1985, was around 7%-9% from 1986 – 2002. However, beginning in 2000, labor force participation of older women has been gradually rising to the 2010 level. This increase is especially noticeable among the population aged 65-69.

(Source: Current Population Survey, labor force statistics. See: Bureau of Labor Statistics web-site:

Back to Previous | Main | Next