Some 17 percent of people living in the United States, or more than 1 in 6, were 65 or older in 2020, according to a report from the Administration on Aging.That represents 55.7 million people, an increase of 15.2 million (38 percent) of people 65 and above since 2010, compared with just 2 percent growth in the under-65 population. It also reflects a consistent increase in the nation’s older population since 1900, when there were 3.1 million Americans 65 and older (4 percent of the population).The report projects a climb to roughly 80.8 million residents 65 and older by 2040, more than double the number in 2000. It also predicts a doubling of the number of even older residents by 2040, with the count of those 85 and older expected to grow from 6.7 million in 2020 to 14.4 million by 2040. In 2020, there were nearly 105,000 residents 100 or older.Much of the aging of the U.S. population stems from the post-World War II baby boom — the period from 1946 to 1964. The report says that nearly half (46 percent) of baby boomers are now 65 and older. Based primarily on data from the Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report offers a statistical profile of the country’s aging population. For instance, arthritis is the most common chronic condition in the age group, affecting 47 percent of those 65 and older. About a fourth have some type of cancer, and a fifth have diabetes. Also, 9 percent of those 65 and older smoke, 30 percent are obese, 28 percent have cognitive issues, and 95 percent got at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. For this age group, 14 percent of expenditures are health-related (compared with 8 percent for all consumers).The report also includes information on living arrangements, marital status, racial and ethnic composition, geographic distribution, education and more.This article is part of The Post’s “Big Number” series, which takes a brief look at the statistical aspect of health issues. Additional information and relevant research are available through the hyperlinks.

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