Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Older Americans 2016 Federal Report

Image by Paul Weithorn.
In June of 2016, the Federal Interagency Forum on Age-Related statistics published a report entitled Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being.

The Forum refers to it as a "chartbook" because it contains a lot of data about older adults in the US, formatted into charts for ease of reading.

The full report is available here.

I spent a lot of time looking at the 2012 report, which I found valuable. Consequently, I am reviewing this more current report, too.

The 2016 report lists 41 indicators of well-being, which are divided into the following six groups:

  • Population
  • Economics
  • Health Status
  • Health Risks and Behaviors
  • Health Care
  • Environment

Here is the Forum's press release that includes highlights from the 179-page report.

This is the seventh report from the Forum.  The Foreword points out some of the additions, which reflect the dynamic nature of aging in the US:

"Among these additions are an indicator describing the changing demographics of Social Security beneficiaries and an indicator describing transportation access for older Americans. Indicators have also been added to describe dementia rates (including Alzheimer’s disease rates, among the non-nursing home population) as well as to examine the number of older Americans receiving long-term care by different types of providers. Finally, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) for Americans age 65 and over has been added." 

If you would like to read a summary of the full report, here are three options:

  • The Association of Health Care Journalist published this article in response to the Forum's 2016 report.
  • If you would like to read highlights from this report as published by Senior Advisor, you can find their post "Key Statistics and Takeaways" here.
  • ABC news provides this summary of the report. 

Do you still want more detail?  Here is a list of all 41 indicators with the section labels that divide them:


Indicator 1: Number of Older Americans.
Indicator 2: Racial and Ethnic Composition
Indicator 3: Marital Status
Indicator 4: Educational Attainment
Indicator 5: Living Arrangements
Indicator 6: Older Veterans


Indicator 7: Poverty
Indicator 8: Income
Indicator 9: Sources of Income
Indicator 10: Social Security Beneficiaries
Indicator 11: Net Worth
Indicator 12: Participation in Labor Force
Indicator 13: Housing Problems
Indicator 14: Total Expenditures

Health Status. 

Indicator 15: Life Expectancy
Indicator 16: Mortality
Indicator 17: Chronic Health Conditions
Indicator 18: Oral Health
Indicator 19: Respondent-Assessed Health Status
Indicator 20: Dementia
Indicator 21: Depressive Symptoms
Indicator 22: Functional Limitations

Health Risks and Behaviors.

Indicator 23: Vaccinations
Indicator 24: Cancer Screenings
Indicator 25: Diet Quality
Indicator 26: Physical Activity
Indicator 27: Obesity
Indicator 28: Cigarette Smoking

Health Care. 

Indicator 29: Use of Health Care Services
Indicator 30: Health Care Expenditures
Indicator 31: Prescription Drugs
Indicator 32: Sources of Health Insurance
Indicator 33: Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenditures
Indicator 34: Sources of Payment for Health Care Services
Indicator 35: Veterans Health Care
Indicator 36: Residential Services
Indicator 37: Personal Assistance and Equipment
Indicator 38: Long-Term Care Providers


Indicator 39: Use of Time
Indicator 40: Air Quality
Indicator 41: Transportation

Note there is also a special feature on Informal Caregiving.

Here is another link to the full report if you find your curiosity piqued!


Older Americans 2012 Federal Report


  1. I looked at this and it is interesting. I am intrigued by the disparity between men and women and then among cultures. Transportation and mobility seem to rear their heads as issues that need help across the board.

    1. I'm glad you found it interesting to look directly at the report / PDF. My experience as a college administrator (in my former career) tells me that gathering statistics is key to making arguments for improving funding of programs / or in creating new programs to meet clear needs. I'm hoping that this data does lead to meeting needs / alleviating suffering.