Every year, the Administration on Community Living (ACL) releases its 2021 Profile of Older Americans report, which outlines the demographics of older adults throughout the United States. Among the findings are several insights that can and should inform our understanding of the changing older adult population, its unique economic vulnerabilities, and how the homeless services sector and related upstream partners can prepare to serve their needs.
Examining the DataThe annual summary of the statistics related to older adults in the United States is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Profile highlights include the following:
- The population is growing: People aged 65+ represented 17 percent of the population in the year 2020. That is expected to grow to 22 percent by 2040.
- Women are disproportionately represented: More women (30.8 million) are aged 65+ than men (24.8 million).
- The population is diverse: Almost 1 in 4 older adults were members of a racial or ethnic group.
- They are economically vulnerable: The 2020 median annual income was $26,668 ($35,808 for men and $21,245 for women), with five million people above the age of 65 living below the poverty level.
- More than a quarter live alone: Of those living in the community, 60 percent lived with a spouse/partner while 27% lived alone.