Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Digital How-To Charting the Graying of America

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Digital How-To Charting the Graying of America

Article excerpt

The U.S. Census Bureau provides reams of data for reporters who cover the Senior Citizen beat Graying 'baby boomers' those in the third of the U.S. population born between 1946 and 1964 are having profound effects on our society, and on our coverage of culture and politics.

Everything from the opening of salad bars in fast-food restaurants (yes, it turns out, we DO need our roughage) to policy discussions on health care, retirement planning, and the future of Social Security can be attributed, in part, to the fact that, somewhere in America, a boomer turns 50 every 7.5 seconds.

So, the top issue of the next century may be how we adjust to the rapidly growing number of newly aged citizens. And a Web site operated by the federal government stands ready to give you the background on older Americans today and in the next generation. Come here for:

* The latest U.S. Census Bureau data that provide a statistical snapshot of where the older population lives, the demographics by five-year age groups, and the rankings of the states, both by percentages and by actual numbers.

* Other reports that focus on older Americans' housing patterns, health issues, incomes, education, and current life expectancies.

* And predictions about aging in the 21st century, with projections for over-65 populations for the years 2000, 2005, 2015, and 2025.

To reach the data, visit the site at, which is operated by the Administration on Aging, an agency of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Of particular interest at this writing was the publication of the latest data on the U.S. elderly population as of July 1, 1998, the newest numbers available. Visit the section directly at pop/default.htm for tables detailing the latest estimates from the Census Bureau. You may view the over-65 population by five-year age groups, selected age groups, percentage distributions, and state rankings of selected age groups by numbers and percentage.

If you need graphics, don't miss the site's two U.S. maps detailing the older population. Also, there are half a dozen spreadsheet files available for downloading.

For other reports and studies, click the link to 'Statistics about Older People' located at the bottom of the introductory page. (Be warned: Because of a cluttered page design, this and other links can take a moment or two to find.) A subsequent screen can hook you up with electronic versions of recent brochures and printed articles on subjects such as age trends and data on health care issues. …

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