- By 2030, every baby boomer will be age 65 or older, which means that 1 out of every 5 US citizens will be of retirement age.
- Life expectancy for US boomers is generally longer than prior generations, given the better healthcare and nutritional advantages available.
- Do you work in the Health industry? Get business insights on the latest tech innovations, market trends, and your competitors with data-driven research.
America’s Demographics & Aging Population Statistics
2030 is going to be an interesting year in the United States.
The start of the 30s will mark a turning point for demographics in the US, particularly for the elderly population, according to the US Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections. By 2030, every Baby Boomer will be age 65 or older, which means that 1 out of every 5 Americans will be of retirement age.
But the impending shift doesn’t stop there. According to Census Bureau projections:
- By 2030, all will be 65 or older and the oldest close to 85. Most will be using some form of Medicare for their health coverage and are planning for or using Social Security as income.
- Younger boomers (sometimes called trailing boomers) ages 57 to 66 accounted for the greatest share of this cohort, almost 60%, in 2021.
- Nearly 40 million boomers have yet to sign up for Medicare.
Aging Population Problems & Issues
So how did we arrive at this impending senior population surge, and all the issues that come along with it? For one, the US wasn’t quite prepared to handle the combination of increased life expectancy and a population surge in the last few decades.
Average life expectancy in the US was slightly less than 70 years old in 1968, but as been steadily rising to reach almost 79 years old in 2016. The population in 1968 was slightly more than 200 million, but reached 323 million by 2016.
This population boom is also putting increased pressure on Social Security and public health services. As of 2020, the program began paying out more than it takes in, thanks to senior citizens and retirees starting to draw more from Social Security rather than contribute to it. And while this transition was expected, the rate of the draw means that based on current projections, Social Security will have insufficient funds to pay out promised benefits and expenditures by the mid- to late 2030s, according to Forbes.
And, for those over 50 who caught the coronavirus and survived, the danger isn’t over. Even with mild to moderate cases of the disease, middle-aged and older adults had nearly twofold higher odds of worsening mobility and physical function, according to a longitudinal study on aging Canadians published on JAMA Network Open in January 2022. The decrease in functional mobility could lead to an increase in falls and limited ability to exercise or carry out daily tasks.
Aging Population in US & Healthcare Costs
Having healthcare coverage readily available can be a major factor in boomers’ and seniors’ feelings of well-being. Even if they are still covered by an employer’s plan, US adults qualify for Medicare at age 65 but are required to register for it.
The majority (77%) of US adults over the age of 65 were members of a Medicare or Medicare Advantage (MA) plan in 2021. Only 4% in this age group were uninsured, according to HealthInsurance.com.
By 2030, when all boomers will be over 65, the Medicare population is expected to reach 69.7 million and will put Medicare’s annual acute care costs around $259.8 billion, according to the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
But choosing a Medicare plan can often be overwhelming because of the sheer number of premiums and services offered by so many companies.
Like what you’re reading? Click here to learn more about Insider Intelligence’s leading Health research.
Digital Health Trends for The Aging Population
Boomers grew up with digital technology, but most haven’t adopted it as a lifestyle. This group still watches more TV than younger generations, prefers in-store shopping experiences, and uses social media less than younger generations. But they’ve become much more interested in digital devices and platforms over the past decade.
As the pandemic wreaked havoc with the healthcare system in 2020, the switch to digital channels was swift—but not without problems. Telehealth and telepsychiatry served as lifelines for some patients. Others switched to retail health and urgent care clinics for minor health needs. Two more waves of coronavirus variants—delta and omicron—have kept things off balance into 2022.
A Mobiquity survey published in June 2021 showed some boomers scheduled telemedicine appointments (45%), used a patient portal to work with a healthcare provider (41%), or used email to do the same (30%) more frequently than before the pandemic.
Boomers also used their smartphones and tablets to research healthcare providers, according to Press Ganey. Although the number of boomers doing so (43.8%) was less than the combined Gen Z and millennial respondents (60.2%), Press Ganey noted that boomers’ use of those devices for healthcare research represented a 26.7% increase over 2019.
When it comes to wearables, boomers are wary about devices that track or listen to them, even if they are meant to manage their health. Although we forecast wearables to continue gaining users among US baby boomers through 2026, it’s not exclusively for health-related purposes. Our research shows that smartphones, tablets, and other technologies will begin to lose users in this age group as they age, lose some faculties needed to operate some technologies, and eventually die. Wearables, on the other hand, are expected to see greater uptake as boomers themselves, their families, and caregivers seek to monitor more biometric information, range of movement, and daily routines.