The Growth of the U.S. Aging Population

Projections of the Senior Population

The current estimated U.S. population 65 and older:

    U.S. Seniors:
    50 Million Strong
    In November of 2016, the U.S. surpassed 50 Million Seniors Source:

    The U.S. has reached a new milestone - a population of over 50 million seniors for the first time in the history of the USA. A linear interpolation of the monthly population estimates published by the Census Bureau in 2015 estimates that we will see over 50 million people in the U.S. aged 65 and older some time during November 2016. Even older annual estimates published by the Census Bureau in 2005 show us crossing the threshold in the spring of 2017. Regardless of the estimation method, it is clear that this milestone is upon us. Continue reading to explore the causes and the effects of the rise in the senior population in the United States.

    As a result of the baby boom that happened post-World War II and the fact that we are experiencing longer life expectancy, the United States is facing a surge in the aging population in every state in the country over the next few decades. This population surge will result in more Medicare beneficiaries and higher Medicare spending, while fewer citizens will be paying into the system. The changing population dynamic presents many challenges that must be addressed.

    50 million seniors is more than the population of 25 states combined

    If all U.S. seniors held hands, they would wrap around the world twice.

    Projected Population Growth for Seniors

    The senior population is expected to climb to 83,000,000 by 2050. Source:

    The Causes of the Aging Population Growth

    People Are Living Longer

    Life Expectancy at Birth

    The average life expectancy at birth in 2010 was 10.5 years longer than what it was in 1950. Source:

    The Aging of the Baby Boomers

    From 1946-1964, there were 75,000,000 babies born. The oldest of these boomers are starting to turn 65. Source:

    U.S. Birth Rates Since 1909

    36,924,413 baby boomers will turn 65 over the next decade. Source:

    Population by Age Range

    Nearly 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day over the next 15 years, fueling the aging population explosion. Source:

    What the Aging Population Means for the U.S.

    Every state will experience an increase in senior population

    The Growth of the 65 and Older Population by State

    Over 20% of the population in 2050 will be 65+ compared to 13.7% today.

    The Growth in Numbers of the "Oldest Old", Those 85+

    The segment of the population that is 85 and older will make up 4.5% of the population by 2050, compared to 2% today.

    The nation's larges cities are already seeing the increase

    Top 25 Largest Cities

    # City 2010 seniors 2013 seniors Change Change
    1.New York, NY993,1581,023,393+30,235+3%
    2.Los Angeles, CA396,696408,882+12,186+3%
    3.Chicago, IL277,932284,208+6,276+2%
    4.Houston, TX189,942198,661+8,719+5%
    5.Philadelphia, PA185,309187,725+2,416+1%
    6.Phoenix, AZ121,943128,329+6,386+5%
    7.San Antonio, TX138,604146,382+7,778+6%
    8.San Diego, CA139,637147,031+7,394+5%
    9.Dallas, TX105,943111,880+5,937+6%
    10.San Jose, CA95,242102,374+7,132+7%
    11.Jacksonville, FL89,94094,026+4,086+5%
    12.Indianapolis, IN86,03687,840+1,804+2%
    13.San Francisco, CA109,842113,130+3,288+3%
    14.Austin, TX55,69559,983+4,288+8%
    15.Columbus, OH67,60070,511+2,911+4%
    16.Fort Worth, TX60,56163,963+3,402+6%
    17.Charlotte, NC62,01666,559+4,543+7%
    18.Detroit, MI81,92583,573+1,648+2%
    19.El Paso, TX72,61775,315+2,698+4%
    20.Memphis, TN66,87068,489+1,619+2%
    21.Baltimore, MD72,81273,398+586+1%
    22.Boston, MA62,23764,962+2,725+4%
    23.Seattle, WA65,49570,494+4,999+8%
    24.Nashville, TN61,50364,001+2,498+4%
    25.Denver, CO62,13264,879+2,747+4%

    Increased Health Care Spending

    Healthcare spending per person is nearly 5 times higher for those aged 85+ than the national average of $7,097 per year. Source:

    Health Care Spending Per Capita by Age

    An Increase in Medicare Spending

    Actual and Projected Medicare Spending

    actual estimated

    Medicare spending is projected to rise to 3.8% of Gross Domestic Product by 2026. Source:

    Fewer People are Paying in, More are Receiving Benefits

    The ratio of the number of people that are working age compared to the number of people that are retirement age will change, causing more strain on Social Security and Medicare.

    Number of Working Aged People (16-64) for Every Retirement Aged (65+) Person

    In 2000, there were 5.2 working aged citizens for each retired citizen. This will change to 3 working aged citizens for each retired citizen by 2030. Source:

    Sources - Data from the 2010 United States Census. The Census counts every resident in the U.S. and is conducted once every 10 years. - Data based on Live Births, Birth Rates, and Fertility Rates, by Race: United States, 1909-2003. US Birth Rates from 1909-2008. The number of births per thousand people in the United States. The red segment is known as the Baby Boomer period. The drop in 1970 is due to excluding births to non-residents. - Data based on Health Expenditures by Age and Gender. Personal health care (PHC) spending by type of good or service and by source of funding (private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, out-of-pocket, and all other payers and programs) is available for five age groups: 0-18, 19-44, 45-64, 65-84, and 85 and over and for males and females for selected years from 2002 through 2010. - Data from Congressional Budget Office Budget and Economic Data: Long-Term Budget Projections. CBO regularly publishes data to accompany some of its key reports. These data have been published in the Budget and Economic Outlook and Updates and in their associated supplemental material, except for that from the Long-Term Budget Outlook.