Aging and Special Needs Statistics


  • Over the past 10 years, the population age 65 and over increased from 37.8 million in 2007 to 50.9 million in 2017 (a 34% increase) and is projected to almost double to 94.7 million in 2060. (Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2018)

  • The 85 and over population is projected to more than double from 6.5 million in 2017 to 14.4 million in 2040 (a 123% increase). (Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2018)

Health Status

  • In January-June 2018, 46% of noninstitutionalized people age 65 and over assessed their health as excellent or very good (compared to 65% for persons ages 18-64 years). Most older persons have at least one chronic condition and many have multiple conditions. In 2016, 38% of people age 65 and over had 0-1 chronic conditions, 47% had 2-3 chronic conditions, and 15% had 4 or more chronic conditions. Leading chronic conditions among older adults include hypertension (67% in 2015), arthritis (55% in 2015), heart disease (29% in 2015-2016), physician-diagnosed diabetes (22% in 2011-2014), cancer (19% in 2015-2016), and stroke (8% in 2015-2016). among persons age 65 and over, the top five chronic conditions were hypertension (58%), hyperlipidemia (48%), arthritis (31%), ischemic heart disease (29%), and diabetes (27%). (Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2018)

  • In 2017, 7.6 million people age 65 and over stayed in a hospital overnight at least one night during the year. Among this group of older adults, 11% stayed overnight 1 time, 3% stayed overnight 2 times, and 2% stayed overnight 3 or more times. This is approximately double the number of overnight hospital stays for the population ages 45 to 64; 6% had stayed overnight 1 time, 1% stayed overnight 2 times, and 1% stayed overnight 3 or more times. Older persons averaged more office visits with doctors than younger persons in 2017. Among people age 75 and over, 22% had 10 or more visits to a doctor or other health care professional in the past 12 months compared to 17% among people ages 65 to 74, 15% among people ages 45 to 64, and 10% among people ages 18 to 44. (Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2018)

Health Care

  • In January-June 2018, 96% of persons age 65 and over reported that they did have a usual place to go for medical care and only 3% said that they failed to obtain needed medical care during the previous 12 months due to cost.  (Administration for Community Living, A Profile of Older Americans 2018)

  • In 2017, consumers age 65 and over averaged out-of-pocket health care expenditures of $6,620, an increase of 43% since 2007 ($4,631). In contrast, the total population spent considerably less, averaging $4,928 in out-of-pocket costs. Older Americans spent 13.4% of their total expenditures on health, as compared to 8.2% among all consumers. Health costs incurred on average by older consumers in 2017 consisted of $4,712 (71%) for insurance, $911 (14%) for medical services, $783 (12%) for drugs, and $214 (3%) for medical supplies. (Administration for Community Living, A Profile of Older Americans 2018)

Other Social/Demographic Trends

  • In 2017, 4,681,000 people age 65 and over (9.2%) were below the poverty level. This poverty rate is not statistically different from the poverty rate in 2016 (9.3%). Another 2.5 million or 4.9% of older adults were classified as "near-poor" (income between the poverty level and 125% of this level). (Administration for Community Living: A Profile of Older Americans 2018)

  • In 2018, 10 million (19.6%) Americans age 65 and over were in the labor force (working or actively seeking work), including 5.5 million men (24.0%) and 4.5 million women (15.9%). Older adults constituted 6.2% of the U.S. labor force. About 3.3% were unemployed. (Administration for Community Living: A Profile of Older Americans 2018)

Alzheimer's Disease

  • In 2019, Alzheimer's and other dementias will cost the nation $290 billion. By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion. (Alzheimer's Association - Latest Facts & Figures)

  • More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. (Alzheimer's Association - Latest Facts & Figures)

  • These caregivers provide an estimated 18.5 billion hours valued at nearly $234 billion.(Alzheimer's Association - Latest Facts & Figures)
  • Approximately one quarter of dementia caregivers are "sandwich generation" caregivers — meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18. (Alzheimer's Association - Latest Facts & Figures)


  • CDC estimates that about 1 in 59 children has been identified with ASD (or 16.8 per 1,000 8-year-olds). (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Autism Spectrum Disorder)

  • In January 2019, CDC launched a 5th phase of funding for the ADDM Network (for tracking year 2018). However, ADDM Network sites previously funded in January 2015 continue work on tracking year 2016. These data will be published in 2020. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Disability Statistics

  • Just over 1 in 4 of today's 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire. (Council for Disability Awareness)

  • At least 51 million working adults in the United States are without disability insurance other than the basic coverage available through Social Security. (Council for Disability Awareness)

  • The average SSDI benefit as of January 2018 was $1,197 a month. That equates to $14,364 annually — barely above the poverty guideline of $12,140 for a one-person household, and below the guideline of $16,640 for a two-person household. (Council for Disability Awareness)

Contact Us

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Nancy Sween
Senior Director of Communications and Publications
703-942-5711 #225

To arrange an interview with an Elder or Special Needs Law attorney, contact:

Abby Matienzo
Communications Manager
703-952-5711 #230