Women's Health USA 2007
Photographs of women's faces
Health Status > Special Populations
Older Women

In 2005, there were 34.8 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States, representing 12 percent of the total population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the older population is expected to grow to 72 million by 2030, representing approximately 20 percent of the population, due to the aging of the baby boom generation. In 2005, older women composed 6.9 percent of the total population while men composed 5.2 percent. Older women represented a larger proportion of the elderly population than men within every age group.

Employment plays a significant role in the lives of many older Americans. In 2006, more than 2.3 million women aged 65 years or older were working, accounting for 11.4 percent of women in this age group. While elderly men are more likely than women to be employed, since 1994 the percentage of employed older adults has increased faster among women than men (data not shown). In 2006, 23.5 percent of 65- to 69- year-old women were employed, compared to 17.3 percent in 1994, an increase of almost 39 percent. Among women aged 7074, 12.7 percent were employed in 2006, an increase of 53.0 percent since 1994. Likewise, the percentage of women aged 75 and older who worked rose 26.5 percent from 1994 to 2006 (3.4 to 4.3 percent, respectively).

According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, those who choose to retire cite a variety of reasons, including being required to do so, poor health, wanting to do other things, and wanting to spend time with family. Very few cited not liking work as a reason for retirement.1

1 He W, Sengupta M, Velkoff VA, and DeBarros KA. U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P23-209, 65+ in the United States: 2005, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washing ton, DC, 2005, (Table 4-3).


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Women's Health USA 2007 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2007. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.