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Older Americans Month: May 2007


A meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens resulted in President Kennedy designating May 1963 as “Senior Citizens Month,” asking the nation to pay tribute in some way to older people across the country. In 1980, President Carter’s proclamation changed the name to “Older Americans Month,” a time to celebrate those age 65 and older through ceremonies, events and fairs.

36.8 million
The number of people 65 and older in the United States on July 1, 2005. This age group accounted for 12 percent of the total population. Between 2004 and 2005, this age group increased by 457,000 people.

86.7 million
Projected population of people 65 and older in 2050. People in this age group would comprise 21 percent of the total population at that time.

Projected percentage increase in the 65-and-older population between 2000 and 2050. By comparison, the population as a whole would have increased by only 49 percent over the same period.

495 million
Current world population 65 and older. Projections indicate the number will increase to 997 million by 2030.

Income and Wealth

Median 2005 income of households with householders 65 and older, up 2.8 percent, in real terms, from the previous year.

Poverty rate for people 65 and older in 2005, statistically unchanged from the previous year. There were 3.6 million seniors in poverty.

Percentage of total annual personal income of people 65 and older in 2001 that came from Social Security payments.

Median net worth for families in 2004 whose head was between 65 and 74. For those whose head was 75 or older, the corresponding figure was $163,100. (2007 edition, Table No. 702)

Serving Our Nation

9 million
Estimated number of people 65 and older who are military veterans.
(Source: 2005 American Community Survey)


5.3 million
Number of people 65 and older who were in the labor force in 2005. Projections indicate that by 2014, the number will reach 8.7 million.,
(2007 edition, Table No. 574)


Proportion of people 65 and older in 2005 with at least a high school diploma. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

Percentage of the population 65 and older in 2005 who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

7.3 million
Number of people 66 and older taking adult education courses. About 8 percent of all lifelong learners are in this age group.
(2007 edition, Table No. 294)

Number of people 65 and older enrolled in regular school (specifically, high school or college) in October 2005.

Marital Status

Percentage of people 65 and older who were married with spouse present in 2005.
(Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

Percentage of widowed people 65 and older in 2005. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)


Percentage of citizens 65 and older registered to vote in the 2004 presidential election. Seventy-one percent of citizens in this age group reported actually casting a ballot.

Of all the votes in the 2040 presidential election, the projected percentage to be cast by people 65 and older. In the 2004 election, people in this age group cast 19 percent of the votes. and


Proportion of householders 65 and older in 2006 who owned their homes. This compares with 43 percent for householders at the other end of the age spectrum — younger than 35.


Percentage of the nation’s business owners who are 65 and older.

Population Distribution


The number of men 65 and older on July 1, 2005, for every 100 women in this age group. For those 85 and older, it drops to 46 men per 100 women.

5.1 million
The number of people 85 and older in the United States on July 1, 2005.

Estimated number of centenarians in the United States on Nov. 1, 2006.

Projected number of centenarians in the United States in 2040.


3.9 million
Number of people 65 and older living in California on July 1, 2005, the highest total of any state. Florida, with 3 million, was the runner-up.

Projection of the percentage of Florida’s population age 65 and older in 2015, which would lead all states. In that year, Florida would have nearly as many residents 65 and older as younger than 18., (2007 edition, Table No. 22)


Percentage of households with a householder 65 and older who owns a motor vehicle. About 3 percent of these households have three or more cars. (2007 edition, Table No. 965)

The following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

African-American History Month (February)
Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14)
Women’s History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
Mother’s Day (May 13)
Father’s Day (June 17)
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans
with Disabilities Act (July 26)
Back to School (August)
Labor Day (Sept. 4)
Grandparents Day (Sept. 9)
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage
Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22)
The Holiday Season (December)


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