The Older Population in Rural America, 2012–2016

Amy S. Smith , U.S. Census Bureau
Edward N. Trevelyan, U.S. Census Bureau

The older population, those age 65 years and older, is distributed across the urban and rural landscapes in ways that help shape this population and the country overall. According to the 2012-2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data there were 46.2 million older persons in the United States, with 10.6 million living in areas designated as rural. Considering that the oldest of the Baby Boomers began turning 65 years old in 2011, the demographic changes ahead for rural America have only begun. Most older people do not live in rural areas and most rural residents are not older. But an older, increasingly rural, population requires specialized medical and rehabilitation services, as well as innovative housing and public transportation options. This paper uses ACS data to describe the rural older population compared to their urban counterparts and examines the older population by level of rurality.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging