"This is alarming data, particularly with regard to the future," said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "Our report shows that the 65+ population comprises 12.6% of the current population -- one in eight people -- and that the ranks will double to about 71.5 million people by 2030; by 2050 there will be 86.7 million people over 65...As we consider increased longevity rates, coupled with the low savings patterns of the baby boomers, we can anticipate that the older population of the future will not fare any better financially than this 65+ generation," said Timmermann. "In addition, the fastest growing population group is those age 85 and over -- the group most likely to be frail and in need of care. These facts point to the pressure that will be placed on our economy, particularly our health and long term care systems, and the need to help individuals plan for their economic security." (Related article: Social Security privatization to hurt baby boomers)
For the current 65+ age group, the following statistics are notable:
- Credit card debt grew slightly from $3,919 in 1998 to $4,014 in 2001.
- 42% are male and 58% female.
- Non-married persons were more likely to live in poverty (16.9%) than married persons (4.7%).
- More men (71%) than women (34%) were married.
- 28% live alone, more women (40%) than men (17%).
- Almost half (49.4%) of women 75 and older live alone.
- 72% of people 65 and older report that their health is good to excellent.
- The states with the greatest percentages of older Americans are: Florida (17.6%), West Virginia (15.6%), Pennsylvania (15.3%), Iowa (14.9%), North Dakota (14.7%) and Rhode Island (14.5%).
- The racial and ethnic composition of the 65+ age group is as follows: White (75.1%), Hispanic or Latino (12.5%), African American (12.3%), Asian (3.6%), Two or More Races (2.4%), American Indian or Alaska Native (.9%), Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander (.1%).
"Women, because they live longer than men and are more likely to be living alone, are at the greatest disadvantage in this profile," said Timmermann. "While more women are working and the earnings gap with men is decreasing, women, nevertheless, earn only 75 cents to every dollar men earn. These points have implications for financial and long term care planning for women in the future."
Recommended article: Financial advisors are key to good retirement planning