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Who knows the current population and age distribution of older adults?

Publicly available up-to-date stats about the older adult population is weak or non-existent.  The most recent version of ChatGPT admits it cannot state the current population in the US that is aged 75+.  Nor can Google. This is somewhat surprising, given the angst in business and market predictions about the aging of the US population and the potential doom that it portends. But anyway, the answer is buried in Census tables. Would you be surprised to learn that there are 25.7 million people aged 75+ today?  That 14.8 million are women and 10.8 million are men?  Would it surprise that 42% of the 65+ population (60.5 million) is aged 75+?

Now factor in the well-documented shrinkage in life expectancy.  Examine the CDC life expectancy at birth – lamenting that two decades of growth in life expectancy at birth have been erased, either by Covid-19, drug overdoses, suicides or disease.  The CDC numbers, of course, cannot be argued with – but they do not factor in life expectancy at 65, nor is that mentioned much in the media that individuals will likely live an additional 20 years. Women may be expected to live another 21.24 years on average, and for men it is 19 more years.  Consider that the current census estimated population aged 65+ is 60.5 million, of which 33.2 million are women and 27.2 million are men. Ah, but according to the Census there are 6.8 million people aged 85+. (See Figure 1).

So where is everybody?  Only 2% of the 65+ (or 818,800) live in assisted living community –  half of them with some degree of dementia. Another 1.3 million live in nursing homes – where the most common condition is dementia. So that means that everyone else is still in their own home or living with a family member. Why?  The cost of senior living care at $54,000/year over any length of time is staggering, pushing move-in ages out to 84.

What it means – a tech opportunity. The move to senior living is a move of desperation for many families, given that their loved one is likely to have dementia and needs more care. Those that don’t make the move depend on families and home care, another increasingly scarce and expensive option. Either way, evening and nights are where the oldest and frailest will need tech-enabled services, including sensor-based remote monitoring, voice-activated calls for help, calming conversational AI, all types of wandering and fall detection, hearing, vision, and robotic assists, whether in the form of tables, prosthetics, smart wheelchairs and more.  The 2024 Market Overview Technology for Aging presents the current demographics, describes the opportunity, the appropriate product categories and the current in-market offerings to mitigate these and many other issues.  Check it out.

 

Figure 1 US Census Population Estimates as of 12/2023 

Age

Population

Male

Female

65+

60.5 million

27.2 million

33.3 million

75+

25.7 million

10.8 million

14.9 million

85+

6.8 million

2.4 million

4.3 million

 

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