Future Is Gray in Census New Report Looks Half-Century Ahead

By Randolph E. Schmid Of The | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 23, 1995 | Go to article overview

Future Is Gray in Census New Report Looks Half-Century Ahead


Randolph E. Schmid Of The, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Today's bike trails might be wheelchair paths a half-century from now, as the number of Americans age 65 and older swells to 20 percent of the population.

Or, there might just be a lot more gray-haired cyclists out there.

A new Census Bureau report, "How We're Changing," takes a statistical look at America and finds that the population is increasing and aging by the day.

The nation's population - currently 261 million - is expected to reach 276 million in 2000, 300 million in 2010, 350 million in 2030 and 392 million in 2050.

And life expectancy will climb from the current 76.3 to an estimated 82.6 years by 2050, the Census report anticipates.

How might this aging affect life in America?

"The first thing that strikes me is: Who will the matinee idols be?" wondered population researcher Charles F. Longino Jr.

"People today say Paul Newman looks great for his age," so maybe by then they won't use phrases like "for his age," said Longino, a professor at Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The proportion of people age 85 and over is growing especially fast. From 3 million in 1993, this group is expected to triple by 2030 and to reach 19 million by 2050 - nearly one American in 20 in that year. …

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