Celebrate Older Americans Month In May

May is Older Americans Month and many organizations are rolling out the red carpet for seniors across the country.  A meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens resulted in President John F. Kennedy designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, encouraging the nation to pay tribute in some way to older people across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation changed the name to Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate those 65 and older through ceremonies, events and public recognition. As part of Older Americans Month, the US Census Bureau has released statistics that highlights the growing elderly population in the US. Some of the statistics include:

38.9 million
The number of people 65 and older in the United States on July 1, 2008. This age group accounted for 13 percent of the total population. Between 2007 and 2008, this age group increased by 927,305 people.

88.5 million
Projected population of people 65 and older in 2050. People in this age group would comprise 20 percent of the total population at that time.


520 million
Projected 2009 midyear world population 65 and older. Projections indicate the number will increase to 1.53 billion by 2050. The percentage of the world’s population 65 and older would increase from less than 8 percent to 17 percent over the period. By 2050, Europe’s rate would be 29 percent.

Number of countries with 20 percent or more of their population 65 and older in 2009: Germany, Italy, Japan and Monaco.


More than 100
Number of countries that could have 20 percent or more of their population 65 and older in 2050.

112 million
The number of people 65 and older in China in 2009, which led the world. China’s older population is expected to reach 349 million in 2050.

Poverty rate for people 65 and older in 2008, statistically unchanged from 2007. There were 3.7 million seniors in poverty in 2008, statistically unchanged from the previous year. The corresponding rate for the population as a whole was 13.2 percent.

Median net worth for families in 2007 whose head was between 65 and 74. The corresponding median for all families was $120,300.


Percentage of householders 65 and older in 2008 who owned their homes.

“Too often we find ourselves trying to learn about our long term care options in the midst of a crisis when we have to make decisions very quickly,” said Shawn Bloom, President and CEO of the National PACE Association.  “Many loved ones have the goal of remaining at home, which is much more likely if families take the time to educate themselves and plan in advance.” The celebration of Older Americans Month can provide the opportunity to have the difficult discussion with elderly family members and friends about their plans for their future. 

For the full set of statistics, click here.