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Report Number ACS-41
Amy Symens Smith and Edward Trevelyan


The older population, those aged 65 and older, is distributed across the urban and rural landscapes in ways that help shape this population and the country overall. According to 2012 to 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) data, there were 46.2 million older people in the United States, with 10.6 million living in areas designated as rural by the U.S. Census Bureau. Considering that the oldest of the baby boomers, those born between mid-1946 and 1964, began turning 65 years old in 2011, the demographic changes ahead for rural America have only begun. Most older people do not live in rural areas and most rural residents are not older. But an older, increasingly rural, population requires specialized medical and rehabilitation services, as well as innovative housing and public transportation options. An aging population clearly has the potential to shape rural America in new and important ways.

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