Some highlights of this study include:
- The number of people age 65 and older has increased from 35 million in 2000 to 39 million in 2008. This population is expected to reach 72 million by 2030 (which is approximately 20% of the population of the U.S.
- life expectancies have increased for both men and women: People who survive to age 65 can expect to live an average of 18.5 more years, about 4 years longer than people age 65 in 1960. However, life expectancy is lower here than in many other industrialized countries.
- Women report higher levels of arthritis (55 percent versus 42 percent) than men. Men report higher levels of heart disease (38 percent versus 27 percent) and cancer (24 percent versus 21 percent).
- 77% of the older population are high school graduates and 21% had a bachelors degree (a large increase from 1965 - which had 24% high school graduates and 5% college graduates, respectively).
- After adjustment for inflation, health care costs increased significantly among older Americans from $9,224 in 1992 to $15,081 in 2006
[Note: some of the data in this report was collected in 2007 and 2008 and so it does not completely reflect the effects of the economic downturn.]