Longevity Facts

The population age 65 and over is increasing at a faster rate than the total population.

From 1950 to 2005, the total resident population of the United States increased from 151 million to 296 million, representing an average annual growth rate of 1.2%. During the same period, the population 65 years of age and over grew, on average, 2.0% per year, and the population 75 years of age and over grew the fastest at an average rate of 2.8% per year.

Figure 1. Total population and older population: United States, 1950-2050 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projections indicate that the rate of growth for the total population from now until 2050 will be slower, but older age groups will continue to grow more rapidly than the total population (1).

By 2029, all of the baby boomers (those born in the post World War II period 1946–1964) will be age 65 years and over. As a result, the population age 65–74 years will increase from 6% to 10% of the total population between 2005 and 2030. As the baby boomers age, the population 75 years of age and over will rise from 6% to 9% of the population by 2030 and continue to grow to 12% in 2050.

The table below shows the likelihood of living to 85 and beyond for people of different ages. You may be surprised to learn your chances of living to well into your 80s, 90s or beyond. 

Current Age  % Chance of Reaching 85
% Chance of Reaching 90
% Chance of Reaching 95
% Chance of Reaching 100
 35  69  50  30 14 
 40  67  49  28 12 
 45  66  47  26 11 
 50  64  45  24 10
 55  64 44  23 9
 60  63  43  22 8
 65  63  42  21 7

 


Reference
1. Day JC. National population projections. 2001. U.S. Census Bureau. Available from: www.census.gov/population/www/popprofile/natproj.html.