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Some sobering data on people over 65 in the US

Written by Diane Archer
Recently, the Census Bureau released a report on the population of people over 65 in the US and highlighting trends. There is some heartening news to be found in the data.  But, here are some sobering data points:
  • Americans are working longer. In 2010, only 32 percent of Americans between 60 and 64 retired, down from 42 percent in 2000.  But 13 percent retired at 65 in 2010, as compared to 9 percent in 2000.  And, in 2010, 13 percent retired between 66 and 69 as compared to 10 percent in 2000.

  • More than one in three people over 65 (38 percent) had at least one disability in 2010, often difficulty walking and climbing stairs.
  • Many older adults suffer from cognitive impairments.  White Americans over 65 have lower rates of cognitive impairments than Hispanics or Blacks.  Only 2.9 percent of Whites between 65 and 74 were living with cognitive impairments, as compared with 9.3 percent of Hispanics and 12.4 percent of Blacks that age.  In 2010, among Americans over 85, 26.9 percent of Whites and more than twice as many Blacks (54.6 percent) were living with cognitive impairments; the percentage of older Hispanics with chronic impairments is also very high. (44.8 percent).
  • More older adults are obese and living with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.  Among older men, 72 percent are obese.  And, 67 percent of older women are obese.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death, (476,519) and cancer the second leading cause (396,173). Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death.  The death rate from Alzheimer’s rose 50 percent between 1999 and 2007.

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