Census Bureau Examines Social, Economic Characteristics of our Nation’s 55,000 Centenarians

beSpacific 2014-04-09

“Centenarians have lower education levels, are overwhelmingly women and are more likely to live in poverty than the 65-and-older population, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. The report, “The Centenarian Population: 2007-2011,” analyzes characteristics of centenarians and how they compare with those 65 years and older. ”Centenarians are a small group who are a significant indicator of American life,” said Brian Kincel, a statistical analyst in the Census Bureau’s Age and Special Populations Branch and the report’s author. “By living a century or more, they have seen great changes in the American landscape and their education levels reflect social and economic conditions in the 1920s and earlier. Today, their situations may vary based on many factors, and the statistics in this report begin to tell their story.” The report, based on results from the American Community Survey, compares social and economic differences between the 55,000 centenarians in the U.S. and the 40 million people 65 and older. Major findings from the report include:

  • Of centenarians, 57 percent received at least a high school diploma compared with 77 percent of the 65-and-older group.
  • Women made up 81 percent of centenarians and 57 percent of those 65 and older.
  • 17 percent of centenarians lived below the poverty line, and 9 percent of the 65-and-older population were in poverty.
  • Among women, 3 percent of centenarians were married as opposed to 41 percent of women 65 and older. Among men, 23 percent of centenarians were married compared with 71 percent of men 65 and older.
  • Of centenarians, 83 percent received Social Security income compared with 88 percent of the 65-and-older group.
  • 24 percent of centenarians received retirement income, while 38 percent of the 65-and-older population received it.”

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