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Tuesday
May062014

Number of Americans Over 65 Could Double in Next 20 Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The number of Americans over the age of 65 will nearly double between now and 2050, a pair of reports from the U.S. Census Bureau said on Tuesday.

One report focuses on the demographic changes to the 65-and-older population and the second looks at the "shifting size and structure of the baby boom population." Jennifer Ortman, chief of the Census Bureau's Population Projections Branch, said in a statement that the United States "is projected to age significantly" over the next 20 or more years, with "20 percent of its population age 65 and over by 2030."

The changing age distribution of the country will likely have a profound impact on health care services and businesses in the coming years.

According to the Census Bureau, the age 65-and-older population could be at 39.1 percent of the nation's population in 2050, compared to 20.7 percent in 2012. An even older subset of the country, the 85-and-older population, could make up 29.7 percent of the country by 2050 as well. That figure was at 16.3 percent in 2012.

Trends in fertility, mortality and migration show that between 2014 and 2050, births will slow, leading to slower growth of the youngest population, while decreased mortality rates will increase the number of people living longer -- and with it, the 65-and-over population.

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ABC News Radio