Population of Seniors Age 90-plus Growing Rapidly

According to a recent report published by the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s 90-and-older population nearly tripled over the past three decades, reaching 1.9 million in 2010. Over the next four decades, this population is projected to more than quadruple.

The majority of people 90 and older reported having one or more disabilities, living alone or in a nursing home and graduating from high school. People in this age group also are more likely to be women and to have higher widowhood, poverty and disability rates than people just under this age cutoff.

According to the report, while about only 1 percent of people in their upper 60s and 3 percent in their upper 70s were nursing home residents, the proportion rose to about 20 percent for those in their lower 90s, more than 30 percent for people in their upper 90s, and nearly 40 percent for centenarians.

While nearly all people in their 90s who lived in a nursing home had a disability (98.2 percent), the vast majority (80.8 percent) of those who did not live in a nursing home also had one or more disabilities. Difficulty doing errands alone and performing general mobility-related activities of walking or climbing stairs were the most common types, which indicates that many who live in households may need assistance with everyday activities.

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
—Betty Friedan