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2010 Census shows more elderly than ever before in the U.S.

By Sally Holland, CNN
updated 12:17 PM EST, Thu December 1, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The older population grew at a faster rate than the population as a whole
  • Males showed more growth than females over the last decade
  • There were 53,364 people 100 years or older in 2010

Washington (CNN) -- The Census Bureau released data Wednesday that shows there are more people 65 and older than ever before in the United States.

According to the 2010 numbers, there are 40.3 million people age 65 and older, an increase of over 5 million since the 2000 Census. The older population grew at a faster rate than the population as a whole.

But the best news might be for older males.

"Males show more rapid growth in the older population than females over the decade," said Carrie Werner, a statistician at the Census Bureau. "While females continue to outnumber males in the older ages, males continued to close the gap over the decade by increasing at a faster rate than females."

The 2000 Census showed that there were just over 88 men to every 100 women age 65. In 2010, there were just over 90 men to every 100 women at that age.

Geographically, the South has more people 65 and older, followed by the Midwest. On the state level, only Rhode Island experienced a decline in population of the 65 and older set. The District of Columbia also experienced a decline.

The 2010 Census also showed a jump in the number of centenarians in the United States. There were 53,364 people who were 100 years or older in 2010, an increase of 5.8 percent since the 2000 count.

As the Baby Boomers reach retirement age, the numbers of older men and women should continue to go up, according to Werner.

"Future growth of the older population is both highly probable and unprecedented in the United States," she said.

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