Getting Older Just Reading the Numbers

bar graph upIf you’re math averse, stop reading now. This post is all about baby boomers and numbers.

It seems that there’s a new report out compiled by 15 federal agencies and it’s titled Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being. You can peruse a copy if you’re up to it at I’ll save you the trouble or reading the whole report by giving you some highlights:

• those of us who live to age 65 can now expect to survive on average 18.5 more years, which is four years more than in 1960

• for those who survive to age 85, women will have an average 6.8 years to live, and men, 5.7 years

• overall, life expectancy is even longer for most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cuba and Costa Rica. Maybe they eat better and exercise more than we do? The report doesn’t hazard a guess on that one.

• by 2030, when all surviving baby boomers will be over 65, it’s projected that there will be 72 million seniors, or about 20 percent of the total population

• the cost of living longer is getting pricy. Adjusted for inflation, annual health care costs for the average senior increased from $9,224 in 1992 to $15,081 in 2006

• the obesity rate has increased among people 65 and over, from 22 percent in 1994 to 32 percent 2 bar graphsin 2008, posing increased risks of coronary artery disease, Type 2 diabetes, various cancers, asthma and other respiratory problems, osteoarthritis and eventual disability.

• average prescription drug costs for people 65 and over were $2,107 in 2004, compared to $600 in 1992. Average out-of-pocket cost of drugs increased more slowly because private and public insurance covered more over time.

• seniors are better educated and better off financially than they were 40 years ago. High school graduates made up 24 percent of people 65 and older in 1965, compared to 77 percent in 2008. Only 5 percent of seniors had a bachelor’s or higher degree then; 21 percent had one in 2008.

Had enough? Me too. Just remember, 4 out of 3 Americans have trouble with fractions, and that’s all you really need to know.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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