New Research Shows Fewer Older Americans Living Alone
The number of older Americans who live alone has dropped since 1990, generally because women ages 65 to 84 are increasingly likely to live with their spouse or children, according to new research from the Pew Research Center.
The number of adults age 65 and older living alone increased significantly between 1900 and 1990, from 6 percent to 29 percent. The researchers attribute the growth to longer lives and more economic security from social safety net programs like Medicare.
Pew’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from 1990 to 2014 finds that the share of older adults living along dropped 3 percentage points, to 25 percent. Among older women, the share declined to 32 percent in 2014 to 38 percent in 1990. Among older men, there was an increase in living alone, inching upward to 18 percent in 2014 from 15 percent in 1990. Among women 65 to 84, the share living alone dropped 8 percentage points since 1990 to land at 30 percent in 2014.
In a 2014 Pew survey of about 1,700 adults, 17 percent of older adults said they would move into an assisted living community if a time came when they could no longer live on their own, while 8 percent said they would move in with a family member and about 61 percent said they would stay in their home and have someone care for them there.
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