The Growing Cost of Aging in America Part 1: An Aging Population and Rising Health Care Costs

Americans are living longer than ever. In 1900, 4.1 percent of the U.S. population was 65 and older. The Census Bureau projects that by 2050, nearly 20 percent of the population will be 65 and older. This unprecedented demographic shift is the result of several factors, including the aging baby-boom generation, a reduction in smoking  and other lifestyle changes, and significant medical advances related to infectious and chronic diseases. But a growing aging population — especially among those older than 85, who are most likely to require expensive long-term care, suffer disability or require assistance with daily activities — comes with serious financial consequences.



In a three-part series, we'll look at the economic ramifications of the growth of the older population in the U.S. In the first installment, we look at the numbers behind this growth, the increase in national health costs, and the cost of health care for aging Americans. In the second part, we will cover the costs associated with Medicare and Social Security. Finally, our third graphic will explore long-term care options and costs, as well as the financial costs for family caregivers.

View the text-only version of this graphic.

The Rising Cost of Aging is a Public Health Issue

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