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Census 2000 Brief: The 65 Years and Over Population: 2000

Written by:
Report Number C2KBR/01-10

In 2000, 35.0 million people 65 years of age and over were counted in the United States.1 This represents a 12.0-percent increase since 1990, when 31.2 million older people were counted.2 Although the number of people 65 years and over increased between 1990 and 2000, their proportion of the total population dropped from 12.6 percent in 1990 to 12.4 percent in 2000.

This report, part of a series that analyzes population and housing data collected from Census 2000, provides a portrait of the 65 years and over population in the United States and discusses its distribution at the national and subnational levels. The report also highlights comparisons with data from the 1990 census.3

A question on age has been asked since the first census of the population in 1790, and data on the 65 years and over population was first published in 1870. The Census 2000 age data were derived from a two-part question that was asked of all people. The first part asked for the age of the person, and the second part asked for the date of birth (see Figure 1).4

1 The text of this report discusses data for the 50 states and the District of Columbia, but not the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Island Areas.
2 For this brief, the older population is defined as people 65 years and over.
3 1990 populations shown in this report were originally published in 1990 census reports and do not include subsequent revisions resulting from boundary or other changes.
4 For more Census 2000 age information, see U.S. Census Bureau, 2001, Age: 2000, by Julie Meyer, Census 2000 Brief, C2KBR/01-12, Washington, DC.


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