Americans are living longer than ever before

Americans are living longer than ever before, and most people aged 65 and over rate their health as good to excellent, according to a report by The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.

The data for the report comes from over a dozen national data sources which look at broad indicators of well-being for the older population. 

Key findings from the report include:

  • Although life expectancy in the U.S. has increased by 6 years since 1980, life expectancy at age 65 in the United States was lower than that of many other industrialized nations.
  • Death rates for heart disease and stroke declined by slightly more than 50 percent since 1981. Death rates for chronic lower respiratory disease increased by 57 percent in the same time period.
  • During the period 2008–2010, 76 percent of people age 65 and over rated their health as good, very good, or excellent.
  • The percentage of obese adults age 65 and over has increased since 1988 – 1994:  in 2009–2010, 38 percent of people age 65 and over were obese, compared with 22 percent in 1988–1994.
  • After adjustment for inflation, health care costs increased significantly among older Americans from $9,850 in 1992 to $15,709 in 2008.
  • From 1977 to 2009, the percentage of household income that people age 65 and over allocated to out-of-pocket spending for health care services increased among those in the poor/near poor income category from 12 percent to 22 percent.
  • Use of hospice care in the last month of life has increased from 19 percent of decedents in 1999, to 43 percent in 2009. Use of ICU/CCU services grew from 22 percent of decedents in 1999, to 27 percent in 2009.

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://www.advisory.com, August 23, 2012; The Federal Interagency Forum on Age-Related Statistics, http://www.agingstats.gov, June 2012)