Persons 65 Years Old and Over—Characteristics by Sex, 1980–2010

The following table features characteristics of the U.S. population age 65 and over, including sex, race, marital status, educational attainment, and employment status.

Characteristic Total Male Female
1980 1990 2000 2010 1980 1990 2000 2010 1980 1990 2000 2010
Total1 (million) 24.2 29.6 32.6 38.6 9.9 12.3 13.9 16.8 14.2 17.2 18.7 21.8
Percent below poverty level2 15.2% 11.4% 9.7% 9.8% 11.1% 7.8% 6.9% 7.0% 17.9% 13.9% 11.8% 11.9%
Percent distribution
Marital status:                        
Single 5.5% 4.6% 3.9% 4.3% 4.9% 4.2% 4.2% 4.1% 5.9% 4.9% 3.6% 4.5%
Married 55.4 56.1 57.2 57.6 78.0 76.5 75.2 74.5 39.5 41.4 43.8 44.5
 Spouse present 53.6 54.1 54.6 55.2 76.1 74.2 72.6 71.7 37.9 39.7 41.3 42.4
 Spouse absent 1.8 2.0 2.6 2.4 1.9 2.3 2.6 2.8 1.7 1.7 2.5 2.1
Widowed 35.7 34.2 32.1 28.1 13.5 14.2 14.4 12.7 51.2 48.6 45.3 39.9
Divorced 3.5 5.0 6.7 10.0 3.6 5.0 6.1 8.7 3.4 5.1 7.2 11.1
Years of school completed:                        
8 years or fewer 43.1% 28.5% 16.7% 10.2% 45.3% 30.0% 17.8% 10.2% 41.6% 27.5% 15.9% 10.1%
1 to 3 years of high school 16.2 16.1 13.8 10.33 15.5 15.7 12.7 9.73 16.7 16.4 14.7 10.83
4 years of high school 24.0 32.9 35.9 36.44 21.4 29.0 30.4 32.04 25.8 35.6 39.9 39.84
1 to 3 years of college 8.2 10.9 18.0 20.65 7.5 10.8 17.8 19.75 8.6 11.0 18.2 21.25
4 years or more of college 8.6 11.6 15.6 22.56 10.3 14.5 21.4 28.46 7.4 9.5 11.4 18.06
Labor force participation7:                        
Employed 12.2% 11.5% 12.4% 16.2% 18.4% 15.9% 16.9% 20.5% 7.8% 8.4% 9.1% 12.9%
Unemployed 0.4 0.4 0.4 1.2 0.4 0.5 0.6 1.6 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.9
Not in labor force 87.5 88.1 87.2 82.6 81.0 83.6 82.5 77.9 91.9 91.3 90.6 86.2
NOTES: n.a. = not available.
1. Includes other races, not shown separately.
2. Poverty status based on income in preceding year.
3. Represents those who completed 9th to 12th grade, but have no high school diploma.
4. High school graduate.
5. Some college or associate degree.
6. Bachelor's or advanced degree.
7. Annual averages of monthly figures (from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings, January issues. Data beginning 1994 not directly comparable with earlier years).
Source: Except as noted, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports. From Statistical Abstract of the United States 2001.

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