Posted by: Josh Lehner | May 20, 2010

Oregon’s Older Population: A Statistical Profile

May is Older Americans Month and here we will take a brief look at the older population in our state.

A meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens resulted in President John F. Kennedy designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, encouraging the nation to pay tribute in some way to older people across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation changed the name to Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate those 65 and older through ceremonies, events and public recognition.


The number of people 65 and over in Oregon on July 1, 2009. That accounts for 13.3 percent of the total population and ranked 24th highest in the nation. (Office of Economic Analysis)


Projected number of people 65 and older in 2020. Elderly will comprise 18.3 percent of the total population in 2020. Between 2009 and 2020, the elderly population will increase by 57 percent or 4.1 percent annually, on average. The pace of growth of the elderly population will be 4 times that of the overall population. (OEA)

Income and Wealth


Median household income in the past 12 months in 2008 for householders 65 and older. The corresponding income for all households was $50,169. Nationally, the income levels were $33,787 and $52,029 respectively. (American Community Survey)


Poverty rate for people 65 and older in 2008. The population as a whole had a poverty rate of 13.6 percent. The corresponding rates at national level were 9.9 percent and 13.2 percent respectively. (ACS)

Serving Our Nation


Estimated number of people 65 and older who were veterans of the armed forces in 2008. About 60.2 percent of the elderly men in Oregon served in the armed forces, compared to 53.5% in the U.S. (ACS)



Number of people 65 and older who were in the labor force in 2008. That accounted for 12.7 percent of the elderly population compared to 15.7 percent in the U.S. (ACS)



Percentage of population 65 and older in 2008 with at least a high school diploma. The rate for the U.S. was 75.7 percent (ACS)


Percentage of population 65 and older in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 20 percent in the U.S. (ACS)

Marital Status and Living Arrangements


Percentage of people 65 and older in 2008 who were currently married. However, because of longer life expectancy for females, 71.4 percent of male elderly and only 43.6 percent of female elderly were currently married. (ACS)


Percentage of 65 and older in 2008 that were widowed. The percentages of male and female widowed elderly were 13.4 percent and 38.7 percent respectively. (ACS)


Percent of people 65 and older in households in 2008 who lived with relatives. Twenty-eight percent of all elderly lived alone, while 4 percent lived in group quarters. (ACS)



Percentage of citizens 65 and older who voted in the 2008 presidential election. Despite ease of participation due to vote by mail, Oregon was 11th highest in the nation. U.S. average voting rate for elderly was 70.3 percent. For citizens 18 years and older, Oregon’s voting rate was 67.6 percent compared to U.S. rate of 63.6 percent. (CPS, 2008)



Percentage of householders 65 and older in 2008 who owned their homes. The rate for the U.S. was 79 percent. (ACS)

Age-sex composition


The number of men 65 and older on July 1, 2009, for every 100 women in this age group. For those 85 and older, the sex ratio drops to 53 men for 100 women. (OEA)


The number of people 85 and older on July 1, 2009. It was 32 percent higher than the number on July 1, 2000. During the same period, total population increased by 11.4 percent (OEA)


Percentage of elderly in population in 2009. Oregon ranked 24th in the nation. By 2020, elderly will comprise of 18.3 percent of the total population. Consequently, for each person 65 and older, there will be 3.4 working-age adults in 2020, compared to 5 working age adults in 2009. (OEA)


The number of centenarians on April 1, 2000. That accounted for 1.9 centenarians for every 10,000 population. In Oregon, the highest number of centenarians was found in Multnomah county, followed by Lane, Washington, Clackamas, and Marion counties. (Census 2000)

Crime and Punishment


Number of arrests of people 65 and older in 2006. Arrest rate (number of arrests per 1,000 population) for elderly was 3 per thousand population, compared to 56 per thousand for under 65 population.


Number of people 65 and older in Oregon correctional facilities on July 1, 2009. Between 2000 and 2009, prison population of all ages increased by 40 percent, whereas elderly inmates increased by 185 percent. (Oregon Department of Corrections)

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