The growth of the U.S. population age 65 and older exceeds that of the total population and the population under age 65.
Lower birth rates and increased longevity have led to this rapid growth not just in the United States but across the world.
So what does it mean to be a part of this increasingly larger segment of American society?
Use this interactive data visualization to see variations in the characteristics of the older U.S. population among the states.
Clicking on the map below shows that about 1 out of 5 people in Florida, Maine, and West Virginia is age 65 or older.
Change the characteristic in the interactive map and see which states have the highest percentage of older populations with internet access, for example, or the lowest percentage with a disability.
This data visualization supplements a new U.S. Census Bureau report, The Population 65 Years and Older in the United States: 2016.
This report provides a snapshot of selected demographic, social, housing, and economic characteristics of the 65 years and older population in the United States based on 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) one-year data.
The report also draws comparisons between people at different stages of aging: those ages 65 to 74, 75 to 84, and 85 and older.
Many of the norms associated with old age have changed in recent years. For example, for the population age 65 and older who lived in a household, around 80 percent lived in a household that had a computer and over 75 percent lived in a household with access to the internet.
Among the older population, computer ownership (87 percent) and internet access (83 percent) were greatest for people ages 65 to 74 years.
The report also finds that around 30 percent of males and 22 percent of females ages 65 to 74 were in the labor force.
While lower than the labor force participation rates among all males (68 percent) and females (58 percent) ages 16 and over, these proportions are consistent with trends showing increasing numbers of people 65 and older in the workforce.
Yet, some characteristics associated with the older population remain consistent even as changes happen.
Serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs was the most prevalent disability for all older population groups. Over 15 percent of those ages 65 to 74 had difficulty with this, along with over a quarter of those ages 75 to 84 and almost half of those 85 and older.
About 69 percent of the population 85 and over had at least one type of disability, compared with just 9 percent of the population under the age of 65.
Social and Housing Characteristics
Andrew Roberts is the chief of the Sex and Age Statistics Branch in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division. Stella Ogunwole, Laura Blakeslee, and Megan Rabe are demographic statisticians in that branch.