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Aging Trends Spell Business Opportunities


Seniors on the seminar
vm/Vetta/Getty Images

My personal journey into aging services began with a gut feeling that there was going to be a huge amount of boomers and seniors needing services in the next 20 years. When you look at aging trends and aging demographics, that is an understatement. And what it means for those in the business or considering going into aging services is this : aging trends spell business opportunity.

There are almost 40 million people aged 65+ in the United States. That is almost 13% of the population. By 2030 there will be more than 72 million older persons making up 19% of the population.

Someone turns 50 every 8 seconds. Each year more than 3.5 million boomers turn 55. By 2012, America's 50 and older population will reach 100 million.

According to the Administration on Aging of The Department of Health and Human Services:

  • The number of Americans who will reach 65 over the next two decades increased by 31% during this past decade.
  • If you reach 65 you can expect to live almost 19 more years.
  • No surprise that women outnumber men by almost 6 million.
  • Seventy two percent of older men are married; 42% of women are married.
  • About 31% (11.2 million) of older persons live alone.
  • Almost a half of a million grandparents have primary responsibility for their grandchildren.
  • The population of 65+ will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 55 million in 2020.
  • The 85+ population is projected to increase from 4.2 million in 2000 to 6.6 million in 2020.
  • Minority populations are projected to increase from 5.7 million in 2000 to 12.9 million in 2020 representing 23.6% of the elderly.
  • Major sources of income for older people in 2007 were: Social Security - 87%; income from assets - 52%; private pensions - 28%; government employee pensions -13%; and earnings - 25%.

In addition, aging is a global phenomenon. By 2030, 55 countries are expected to see their 65 and older populations at least 20 percent of their total. There are more people aged 65 and older than the entire populations of Russia, Japan, France, Germany and Australia—combined. By 2040, the global population is projected to number 1.3 billion older people, 14 percent of the total.

State of the Elderly

  • In 11 states, 14% or more of the population is 65+: Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine, Iowa, Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Montana and Rhode Island.
  • In ten states, the 65+ population increased by 25% or more between 1998 and 2008.
  • Almost 81% of elderly live in metropolitan areas.
  • The elderly tend to move less, half stay in the same county and almost 80% in the same state.

Income and Home Ownership

  • The median income of older persons in 2008 was $25,503 for males and $14,559 for females.
  • Eighty percent of elders are home owners and 20% renters.
  • The median construction year for homes was 1969 and 4.4% of the homes have physical problems.
  • In 2007, the median value of homes owned by older persons was $168,654 compared to a median home value of $191,471 for all homeowners.
  • About 68% of older homeowners in 2007 owned their homes free and clear.

Work and Education

  • In 2008, 6.2 million (16.8 %) Americans age 65 and over were in the labor force or 4% of the workforce.
  • Between 1970 and 2008, the percentage of older persons who had completed high school rose from 28% to 77.4%. About 20.5% in 2008 had a bachelor's degree or higher.

State of Health

  • In 2008, 39.1% of older persons assessed their heath as excellent or very good.
  • Minorities were less likely to rate their health as excellent or very good.
  • However, Hispanics outlive whites by 2.5 years and blacks by almost eight years. By 2019 they will be the largest racial/ethnic minority in this age group accounting for 19.8 percent of the older population.
  • About 27% (of persons 60+) report height/weight that place them among the obese.
  • Older adults are hospitalized at a rate three times higher than the rest of the population with out-of-pocket health care expenditures of $4,605.
  • Almost all are covered by Medicare.
  • About 59% had some type of private health insurance.
  • They exercise twice as much as previous generations.
  • According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth has risen to a new high of nearly 78 years. Those born in 1900 could only expect to live 47.3 years. Today, a newborn infant can expect to live for 78.3 years.


According to Transgenerational Design Matters, the older population can be broken down as follows:

The "Young Old" 65-74.”The first wave of aging Baby Boomers who will reach full retirement age in 2011. For the next 20 years, 74 million Boomers will retire.“

The "Old" 74-84.

The "Oldest-Old" 85+. The growth rate of this segment is twice that of those 65 and over and almost 4-times that for the total population. “They now represents 10% of the older population and will more than triple from 5.7 million in 2010 to over 19 million by 2050. “


Unlike their elders who are remaining true to their roots, boomers will move to places that accommodate their lifestyle - mountains, beaches, islands, college towns. Half expect to work at least part-time once they retire.

Nine out of 10 seniors prefer to grow old in their own homes according to the AARP.

It is evident that the population is aging and will need a variety of services in order to age with a good quality of life. If you have been reluctant to dip your toe in the water of aging services, this article should help you understand the size of the opportunity out there. And frankly given the size, there is room for many players. Yes there will be competition but there were also be room for everyone to own their share of aging services.

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