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For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 19, 2019

American Community Survey 2014-2018 5-Year Estimates Now Available

Press Release Number CB19-196

Erratum Note:
Dec. 19, 2019 - A statement in the Housing and Living Arrangements section has been updated to correctly identify the universe for the age 65 and over who lived alone.

Dec. 19, 2019 – Today the U.S. Census Bureau released new 5-year estimates from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey (ACS). As part of the nationwide release of over 40 demographic topics, estimates profiling the 65 and older population are now available. Of the 3,142 counties in the United States, Sumter County, Fla., had the highest percentage of residents aged 65 and older—at 55.6% in 2014-2018. This is significantly higher than the percentage in 2009-2013 (46.7%).

“The American Community Survey is vital to understanding different demographic groups across the nation,” said Victoria Velkoff, Associate Director for Demographic Programs. “This includes the 65 and older population. By looking at the latest data, resources can be provided to support not only the aging population, but all groups across the country.”

The median age of the U.S. older population was 73.2 years in the 2014-2018 ACS. Highlands County, Fla.; Mower County, Minn.; and Palm Beach County, Fla., had some of the highest median ages among the 65 years and older population at about 75 years, while Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, had one of the lowest (70 years).

When it comes to the sex distribution among the 65 years and older population, they are primarily female, but according to 2014-2018 ACS data, Cass County, Minn.; Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska; Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska; La Paz County, Ariz.; Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska; Monroe County, Fla.; and Polk County, Texas, were among the counties that had higher proportions of older males than older females. However, in other counties, there were about three women for every two men age 65 and over. Danville city, Va. (61.7%); Bronx County, N.Y. (61.0%); and Muscogee County, Ga. (60.3%), were among counties with the highest percentage of older women.

Labor Force, Income, and Poverty

  • During the 2014-2018 ACS, the labor force participation rate for the population ages 65 to 74 years increased to 25.7% from 25.2% in 2009-2013. For the population aged 75 years and over, the labor force participation rate increased from 5.9% in 2009-2013 to 6.6% in 2014-2018. For counties and county equivalents with age 65 and older populations of 7,000 or more people, Alexandria city, Va. (30.3%), was among those with the largest civilian labor force participation rates for the population age 65 years and over. 
  • Also among this group were Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska; Garfield County, Colo.; Marin County, Calif.; Montgomery County, Md.; and Windham County, Vt., with rates of 27% or higher. 
  • From 2014 to 2018, for counties with populations of 50,000 or more, Arlington County, Va.; Fairfax County, Va.; Howard County, Md.; Loudoun County, Va.; and Montgomery County, Md., were among the counties with the highest household incomes for householders 65 years and over. Median household income was highest in Hawaii ($65,086) and lowest in Mississippi ($34,275) for households with a householder 65 years and over. 
  • For individuals age 65 or older, counties that had among the lowest poverty rates included: Douglas County, Colo.; James City County, Va.; and Stafford County, Va. Counties with the highest poverty rates for people age 65 and over included McKinley County, N.M.; Starr County, Texas; and Webb County, Texas.

Housing and Living Arrangements

  • Of the 65 years and older population who lived in renter-occupied housing units during 2014-2018, 54.4% spent 30% or more of their household income on housing costs. Of those 65 and older living in owner-occupied housing units, only 26.3% spent 30% or more of their household income on housing costs.
  • Of the total U.S. population living in group quarters, 18.7% were 65 years and older during the 2014-2018 period. Of those 65 years and older living in group quarters, 82.0% lived in nursing/skilled nursing facilities, down from 82.8% during the 2009-2013 period
  • During the 2014-2018 five-year period, 42.8% of householders 65 and over lived alone, a decrease from 43.8% in 2009-2013. New York County, N.Y.; Richmond city, Va.; and St. Louis city, Mo., were among the counties and county equivalents with the highest percentage of householders 65 years and over living alone. Utah County, Utah; Williamson County Tenn.; and Wilson County, Texas, were among the counties with the lowest percentage of householders 65 years and over living alone.

Other Highlights

  • Alexandria city, Va.; Arlington County, Va.; Boulder County, Colo.; Fairfax County, Va.; Howard County, Md.; Marin County, Calif.; and Montgomery County, Md., were among the counties with the highest rates of bachelor’s degree or higher educational attainment for the population age 65 and older.

  • Nationally, 70.6% of individuals 65 years and older had a subscription to at least one broadband internet service, including mobile internet. Among the counties with the highest rates of broadband subscription for this group are Douglas County, Colo.; Eagle County, Colo.; Falls Church city, Va.; Nantucket County, Mass.; Pitkin County, Colo.; and Summit County, Utah.

  • Sumter County, Fla., had the largest proportion of the citizen voting-age population that is 65 years of age and older, with 60.4% of the electorate in this age group.

  • Of the 18.6 million veterans in the United States, about half were 65 years and older (49.5%). Counties with the largest proportion of veterans among the older population include Comanche County, Okla.; Coryell County, Texas; Lyon County, Nev.; Nye County, Nev.; and Okaloosa County, Fla.

New Data Dissemination Platform

The 2014-2018 ACS five-year estimates are available on data.census.gov. Data.census.gov is the new platform to access data and digital content from the Census Bureau. The vision for data dissemination through data.census.gov is to improve the customer experience by making data available from one centralized place so that data users spend less time searching for data content and more time using it. For more information on how to use data.census.gov, visit the data.census.gov resources page. Our development depends on your feedback. Once you have reviewed the site, please send your comments to cedsci.feedback@census.gov.

About the ACS

The ACS is the largest source of small area statistics for social, economic, housing and demographic characteristics. It gives communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Retailers, homebuilders, police departments, and town and city planners are among the many private- and public-sector decision-makers who count on these annual results. Visit the Stats in Action Videos page to see examples. These statistics would not be possible without the participation of the randomly selected households in the survey.

Because it is a survey based on a sample of the population rather than the entire population, the ACS produces estimates with sampling error. To aid data users, the Census Bureau calculates and publishes a measure of the sampling error, the margin of error, for every estimate. For guidance on making comparisons, please visit census.gov.


Jewel Jordan
Public Information Office

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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