Persons 65 Years Old and Over—Characteristics by Sex, 1980–2010

The following table features characteristics of the U.S. population age 65 and over, including sex, race, marital status, educational attainment, and employment status.

Characteristic Total Male Female
1980 1990 2000 2010 1980 1990 2000 2010 1980 1990 2000 2010
Total1 (million) 24.2 29.6 32.6 38.6 9.9 12.3 13.9 16.8 14.2 17.2 18.7 21.8
Percent below poverty level2 15.2% 11.4% 9.7% 9.8% 11.1% 7.8% 6.9% 7.0% 17.9% 13.9% 11.8% 11.9%
Percent distribution
Marital status:                        
Single 5.5% 4.6% 3.9% 4.3% 4.9% 4.2% 4.2% 4.1% 5.9% 4.9% 3.6% 4.5%
Married 55.4 56.1 57.2 57.6 78.0 76.5 75.2 74.5 39.5 41.4 43.8 44.5
 Spouse present 53.6 54.1 54.6 55.2 76.1 74.2 72.6 71.7 37.9 39.7 41.3 42.4
 Spouse absent 1.8 2.0 2.6 2.4 1.9 2.3 2.6 2.8 1.7 1.7 2.5 2.1
Widowed 35.7 34.2 32.1 28.1 13.5 14.2 14.4 12.7 51.2 48.6 45.3 39.9
Divorced 3.5 5.0 6.7 10.0 3.6 5.0 6.1 8.7 3.4 5.1 7.2 11.1
Years of school completed:                        
8 years or fewer 43.1% 28.5% 16.7% 10.2% 45.3% 30.0% 17.8% 10.2% 41.6% 27.5% 15.9% 10.1%
1 to 3 years of high school 16.2 16.1 13.8 10.33 15.5 15.7 12.7 9.73 16.7 16.4 14.7 10.83
4 years of high school 24.0 32.9 35.9 36.44 21.4 29.0 30.4 32.04 25.8 35.6 39.9 39.84
1 to 3 years of college 8.2 10.9 18.0 20.65 7.5 10.8 17.8 19.75 8.6 11.0 18.2 21.25
4 years or more of college 8.6 11.6 15.6 22.56 10.3 14.5 21.4 28.46 7.4 9.5 11.4 18.06
Labor force participation7:                        
Employed 12.2% 11.5% 12.4% 16.2% 18.4% 15.9% 16.9% 20.5% 7.8% 8.4% 9.1% 12.9%
Unemployed 0.4 0.4 0.4 1.2 0.4 0.5 0.6 1.6 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.9
Not in labor force 87.5 88.1 87.2 82.6 81.0 83.6 82.5 77.9 91.9 91.3 90.6 86.2
NOTES: n.a. = not available.
1. Includes other races, not shown separately.
2. Poverty status based on income in preceding year.
3. Represents those who completed 9th to 12th grade, but have no high school diploma.
4. High school graduate.
5. Some college or associate degree.
6. Bachelor's or advanced degree.
7. Annual averages of monthly figures (from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, January issues. Data beginning 1994 not directly comparable with earlier years).
Source: Except as noted, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports. From Statistical Abstract of the United States 2001.

Information Please® Database, © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Population
Persons 65 Years Old and Over—Characteristics by Sex, 1980–2010

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!