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Older women more likely to live alone among facts from U.S. ‘Profile of Older Americans’

Men and women differ in many ways as they age — no shock there, since they differ on so many things when young, too — and one distinction that stands out is whether they’re likely to be living with a spouse.

Fewer than half of women age 65 and older lived with a married or unmarried partner in 2016 while nearly three-fourths of men did so. The gap only grew wider with age, with only 34 percent of women 75-plus living with a spouse. A lot of this has to do with ratios: There are 126.5 women over age 65 for every 100 men. At age 85 and above, there are 189.2 women for every 100 men.

Those statistics are from “A Profile of Older Americans: 2016,” a report recently released by the federal government’s Administration on Aging. Part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency updates various data annually from the Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics and other sources.

The nation’s 65-and-up population increased 30 percent from 2005 to 2015, compared with 5.7 percent for the rest of the population, and stood at 47.8 million. That age group is projected to more than double to 98 million by 2060. If you made it to age 65 in 2015, the government estimates you’ll live 18 years beyond that if you’re a man and 20.6 more years if you’re female.

Among other data in the report:

  • Minorities make up a steadily increasing percentage of the older population. They’ve increased from 18 percent of those 65 and older in 2005 to 22 percent in 2015, with projections of 28 percent in 2030.
  • A relatively small number of people over age 65, just 3.1 percent, live in institutional settings such as nursing homes. That percentage rises sharply with age, naturally, reaching 9.1 percent over age 85.
  • In aggregate, older adults received 33 percent of their income from Social Security, 32 percent from earnings, 21 percent from pensions and 10 percent from assets. For one-third of Social Security recipients, their government retirement benefits made up at least 90 percent of their income.

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