Facts & Figures


  • Fastest growing demographic: 80-plus

  • Those age 65+ by 2030: 72.8 million (more than one in five US residents)

    • This represents a 40.7% increase in the senior population from 2012 to 2030

    • The overall US population is expected to grow only 12.4% during the same period

  • “Minority group” seniors by 2030:  Nearly 3 in 10 seniors

  • Those age 80+: 19 million by 2030;    30 million by 2050

  • Growth in proportion of US population age 80+ from 2012 to 2050: 27% to 37%

  • San Diego demographics:

    • San Diego County seniors 65+ as of 2012: Approx 375,000 (11.9%)

    • Est San Diego County seniors 65+ by 2030: Approx 725,000

    • Growth in SD seniors age 85+ from 2012 to 2030: 60,000 to 84,000 (16%-23%)

      • Est growth rate of the 85+ age demographic from 2010 to 2030: Over 150%


  • Seniors living in their own homes: 80%

  • Seniors who live alone: 33% of those 65+; 46% of those 75+

  • Seniors who would consider a “lifestyle community”:  77%

Elder Abuse

  • Proportion of adults who will experience elder abuse in their lifetimes: One in twenty

    • Elder abuse includes physical, financial, neglect, mental suffering, isolation; abandonment

  • Proportion of elder abuse that is reported: Only 19%

  • Estimated number of older Americans abused each year (Associated Press): 2 million

  • SD County violent crime rate against seniors: rose by 37% over five years

    • Compared to 18% increase in violent crime overall during the same period

    • (Union Tribune article April 25, 2017)

  • Investigations of senior abuse by SD Adult Protection Svcs: over 6,000 (FY 2013/2014)

    • 34% of those were confirmed abuse


  • Average cost of an assisted living facility (“ALF”) apt in the US: $51K/yr (2015)

    • ALF costs paid out of pocket: 90%  (many are not covered by Medicare)

  • Cost of private duty home care: Over $20/hr

  • Family caregivers of someone 65+ who needs help because of limitations: 17.7M

    • Nearly half of those provided care to a high-need older adult

  • Seniors age 85- 89 needing help from family caregivers due to limitations: 58.5%

    • Seniors age 90 years or more who need caregiver help: More than 76%

  • Most caregivers are: Women, aged 25-44

    • Age-related trends show that there will not be enough caregivers to help seniors as they age (stats needed)

    • The number of those entering their senior years are outpacing the number of women of the age demographic that typically provides most of the caregiving

    • More women are remaining in the workforce longer, thus also reducing caregivers

  • Seniors 65+ who suffer a fall that permanently affects their mobility: 31%

  • Seniors reporting limits on basic physical activities: 34%

  • Geriatrics:

    • Geriatricians qualified to care for older patients: 7,500

    • Estimated need for geriatricians by 2030: 36,000

  • San Diego County growth in life expectancy from 2000 to 2011: 78.8 to 81.6 yrs

  • Unintentional (accidental) injuries are among the leading causes of death for seniors

  • Percent of SD County seniors reporting binge drinking: 13%

  • Percent of seniors who are overweight: 36.6%    Percent “obese”” 19.3%

  • Percent of seniors with high blood pressure: 61%

  • SD County 9-1-1 emergency medical care calls from seniors (2012): 71,655 (equal to one in five SD seniors)


  • SD County median senior household income: $44,975

    • Significantly lower household income for seniors living alone

  • SD County seniors 65+ still in the labor force: 16.7%

  • SD County seniors below the poverty level: 9.5% (2012)

  • SD County seniors between 100% and 149% of the poverty level: 9.4% (2012)

    • So roughly 19% of the SD County senior population are below 150% of the poverty level


Articles and Excerpts

Technology for Aging in Place (Article – JAN 2014):

Aging in Place Market Overview 1-20-2014


Eighty percent of older people today live in their own homes – with one-third of the 65+ and 46% of those 75+ living alone The desire to live at home dominates the minds of baby boomers who are becoming seniors (age 65) at the rate of 10,000 per day, and that desire is reshaping the markets that provide products and services to them.

… improved medical treatment and growing life expectancy has resulted in the 80-plus becoming the fastest growing demographic. When asked what’s important for successful aging, seniors rank as the most important: ‘being in good health, having the ability to do things for myself, having friends and family there for me, and feeling safe and secure.

MetLife has pegged the average cost of an assisted living facility (ALF) apartment in the US in 2012 as $43K/year, with nursing homes at $87K/year.  Meanwhile, their cost projections show average ALF cost growing to $51K by 2015 – but in many states that number has already been surpassed. Unlike nursing homes, which can be covered under Medicaid, more than 90% of assisted living costs are paid out of pocket. The ability to keep paying for ALF care depends on availability of long-term care insurance, sizable savings, or proceeds from the sale of a home. The cost of private duty home care, one of the 10 fastest-growing job categories in the US, has risen to $20/hour.

…for a variety of reasons…, including cost and availability, care of the aging population has already begun to migrate from nursing homes to assisted living and increasingly to homebased care. But it is clear from age-related trends that there will not be enough caregivers to help seniors age at home if they need substantial care. The care gap results from convergence senior population growth, increase in life expectancy, looming healthcare issues, and flat growth among younger women — still the primary source for home care, assisted living, and nursing home aides (see Figure 1).

More than a third of those aged 65+ live alone. Many of the adult children of today’s oldest seniors worry with good reason about their parents – and struggle with them over whether they should be living on their own. And the National Institute for Nursing Research states that “one third of informal caregiving occurs at a distance with family members coordinating provision of care, maintenance of independence, and socialization for frail elders living at home.

Many seniors struggle to take care of themselves, to accomplish activities of daily living (ADLs) due to mobility issues or worsening dementia. And many homes are danger zones of stairs, rugs, and bathing and cooking hazards. As a result, 31% of people age 65+ suffer a fall that permanently affects their mobility – whether it involves adding a cane, walker, or wheelchair to their lives.

In a study by AARP, 34% of senior responders reported limits on basic physical activities, two in five reported low vision or hearing impairments, and fifteen percent reported problems learning, remembering, or concentrating. But at the same time, 66% felt it was very important to stay involved with the world and with people, and 57% said it was very important to continue to learn new things.

It’s true that baby boomers will skew the population distribution and change how we age. This began in 2011 when the oldest began turning 65. Today there are more than 41 million seniors age 65+ at the end of 2012, exceeding 13% of the US population. And with growing life expectancy for those with more income and education, plus baby boomers’ denial of aging and expectations of working longer, the real ‘senior’ may be those 18 million of who are aged 75 and beyond

Family caregivers often take an interest in and provide some sort of oversight for these seniors – either spouse or parents – in fact, as many as twenty-five percent of families today care for someone outside the home.

Mather Lifeways


Mather LifeWays, Ziegler, and Brecht Associates partnered to conduct the first national survey of family members of residents living in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). As senior living providers are planning their futures, many are wondering what the next generation of older adults will desire relative to their housing and lifestyle needs. This survey focuses on nearly 3,700 people who are knowledgeable about the CCRC concept, and can provide helpful feedback regarding what they would like to see in a future community. Based on respondents’ current knowledge and experiences with CCRCs, 77% would be likely to consider a lifestyle community offering a full continuum of living options for themselves and their spouses. Nearly nine in ten respondents would select a CCRC model versus a strictly independent living community. Having access to assisted living and long-term care, if needed, are two of the most important reasons respondents would select a CCRC model.

Committee on Family Caregiving for Older Adults (2016 report)

Families Caregiving For An Aging America 2016 / book.pdf

Family caregiving affects millions of Americans every day, in all walks of life. At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are family caregivers of someone age 65 and older who needs help because of a limitation in their physical, mental, or cognitive functioning. As a society, we have always depended on family caregivers to provide the lion’s share of long-term services and supports (LTSS) for our elders.

By 2030, 72.8 million—more than one in five U.S. residents—will be age 65 or older. The greatest growth will be in the numbers of the “oldest old,” the population that is most in need of help because they are the most likely to have physical, cognitive, and other functional limitations.

In less than 15 years, nearly 3 in 10 older Americans will identify as a member of a minority group. Differences in culture, along with differences in income, education, neighborhood environments, lifetime access to health care, and occupational hazards will have a significant impact on the need for care, the availability and willingness of family caregivers to provide it, and the most effective and appropriate ways to provide caregiver support. Developing programs and services that are accessible, affordable, and tailored to the needs of diverse communities of caregivers presents significant challenges.

Between age 85 and 89 years…more than half of older adults (58.5 percent) receive a family caregiver’s help because of health problems or functional limitations (Freedman and Spillman, 2014a). From age 90 years and onward, only a minority of individuals (24 percent) do not need some help from others. In 2011, the majority of older adults (71 percent) did not receive assistance for health or functioning reasons (Freedman and Spillman, 2014b). However, 17 percent or 6.3 million older adults received help with household tasks or self-care (defined here as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, or mobility) due to health or functioning limitations other than dementia, while another 9 percent or 3.5 million older adults received help because they had dementia. Three percent (1.1 million) resided in a nursing home.

According to the NSOC, 17.7 million individuals were caregivers of an older adult in 2011 because of health or functioning reasons or approximately 7.7 percent of the total U.S. population age 20 and older… Nearly half of those caregivers (8.5 million) provided care to a high-need older adult… Only 15 percent of NSOC caregivers had provided care for one year or less at the time of the survey whereas nearly 70 percent were caregiving for 2 to 10 years, and 15 percent had already provided care for more than 10 years by the time of the survey…

In 2011, roughly 62 percent of NSOC caregivers were female and more than one third were daughters, daughters-in-law, or stepdaughters of the care recipient (see Table 2-6). Those three groups may play an even greater role in caring for high-need individuals; 38 percent of family caregivers for high-need older adults were daughters, daughters-in-law, or stepdaughters compared to 33.6 percent of all caregivers. Women also make up a majority of NSOC care recipients, as 70 percent of both all-need and high-need NSOC care recipients were female. Half of the NSOC caregivers were between the ages of 45 and 64 (50.5 percent), but nearly one-third (32.3 percent) were older adults themselves.

According to the U.S. Census, by 2030—just 14 years after the publication of this report—more than one in five of U.S. residents will be age 65 or older (see Figure 2-3) (Ortman et al., 2014). This represents a 40.7 percent increase in the size of the older population between 2012 and 2030. By contrast, the overall U.S. population is expected to grow only 12.4 percent—from 313.9 million to 358.5 million—during the same time period.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that women’s participation in the workforce will continue to increase during the same years that they are most likely to be caregiving (Toossi, 2013). The percentage of women over age 54 who work, for example, is expected to increase from 35.1 percent in 2012 to 37.5 percent in 2022. During the same period, the percentage of working women over age 64—those most likely to be caring for a spouse—is expected to increase from 14.4 to 19.5 percent (Toossi, 2013). This trend is likely to contribute to the widening gap between the supply and demand for family caregivers of older adults.

The John A. Hartford Foundation’s Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Psychiatry


The first Boomers turned 65 in 2011, the average life expectancy is rising, and the number of older Americans continues to grow. Patients aged 65 and older require by far the largest share of health care services.  Some estimates project a need for 36,000 geriatricians by 2030, but currently there are fewer than 7,500 physicians with the skills and expertise necessary to care for older patients. The shortage is further compounded by a dearth of academic geriatricians to train medical specialists and subspecialists, general practitioners, and other geriatricians. Currently, there are fewer than 900 full-time academic geriatricians in the U.S., while some experts project that 2,400 are required to meet the growing demand.[1] The situation is even worse in the field of geriatric psychiatry.

San Diego County Senior Health Report – June 2015



In 2012, San Diego County was home to 374,535 seniors aged 65 years or older, representing 11.9% of the County’s total population of 3.1 million, which was lower than that of the United States as a whole (13.7%). Many of these residents 65 years or older lived in communities in the western half of the county. By 2030, the number of seniors aged 65 years and older in San Diego County is expected to double to 723,572. Importantly, the fastest growing age group, those aged 85 years and older, is projected to increase from 59,666 in 2012 to 84,048 in 2030.

For every age group of adults 65 years and older, females outnumbered males, with the proportion of females increasing with each older age group. This trend is projected to continue through 2030. In 2012, 69.4% of all San Diego County seniors were white. This percentage is expected to decrease between now and 2030, primarily because of an increase in the number of Hispanic seniors (from 16.0% in 2012 to an expected 22.9% in 2030).

More than half of all seniors in San Diego County completed at least some college education with only 17.6% having less than a high school education. As of 2012, 23.8% of seniors were veterans, and among those veterans, 6.5% had an income below the federal poverty level.

In San Diego County, 16.7% of seniors aged 65 and older remained in the labor force. Forty-two percent of San Diego County seniors lived alone, the vast majority of these being female (67.9%). The median income in senior households was $44,975, with seniors living alone having significantly lower median incomes than those who live with others. Nearly all senior households have Social Security income, about half have income from retirement plans or savings, and over a third have earnings from someone in the household.

Approximately 8% of seniors in San Diego County live with grandchildren under the age of 18 years. Of those living with grandchildren, one out of six are financially responsible for their grandchildren.


Life expectancy at birth in the United States was 76.8 years in 2000 and increased to 78.7 years in 2011. San Diego County residents had a life expectancy that was approximately 3 years longer than residents of the United States, in 2011.


The 85 year and older population will increase by 156% between 2010 and 2030, from 53,960 people aged 85 and older, to 84,048 people in 2030. This growth is greatest among females, in part due to their traditionally longer life expectancies. However, more males are living to be 85 years and older than ever before in San Diego County. The 85 year and older male population will increase by 152% between 2010 and 2030.


Low income has been shown to be a risk factor for poor health. The Federal Poverty (FPL) is set at different dollar amounts that vary according to several factors, including how many people live in one household. In 2012, the FPL for a one person family/household was $11,170 per year. For more information on federal poverty guidelines, visit

In San Diego County, 9.5% of all seniors lived below the poverty level and 9.4% lived between 100% and 149% of the poverty level in 2012. Since women generally live longer than men, a higher percent of women live on a single income. This may result in a greater number of senior women living in poverty than men.


Among the senior population, elder abuse, the intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder, is of great concern. In fiscal year, 2013/2014, there were 6,131 investigations of abuse of seniors to Adult Protective Services. Of those investigations, 34.0% were determined to be confirmed cases of abuse. Of the confirmed cases, 11.5% involved allegations of physical abuse, 18.8% financial abuse, 44.0% self-neglect, 6.2% neglect and 18.7% mental suffering. A smaller percentage involved isolation (0.7%), abandonment (0.2%), or sexual abuse (0.1%).


Unintentional (accidental) injuries are among the leading causes of death for seniors, most of which are preventable. In 2012, there were 337 seniors that died due to an unintentional injury (90.0 per 100,000). Additionally, 10,040 seniors were hospitalized for an unintentional injury (2,680.7 per 100,000) in 2012. The hospitalization rate increased with age to 6,335.3 per 100,000 for seniors aged 85+ years; 4.5 times greater than 65 to 74 year-olds. There were also 24,615 seniors aged 65 years and older discharged from an emergency department due to unintentional injury (6,572.1 per 100,00).

The most frequent type of unintentional injury among seniors are falls. Risk factors for falls include lack of physical activity, lower limb weakness or trouble walking, impaired vision, medications, low vitamin D, osteoporosis, and environmental hazards.  227 seniors died due to unintentional fall injury (60.6 per 100,000) in 2012. The death rate was nearly fifteen times higher for seniors aged 85+ years than for seniors aged 65 to 74 years. That year, 7,303 seniors were also hospitalized (1,949.9 per 100,000) and 16,076 seniors were treated and discharged (4,292.3 per 100,000) for an unintentional fall injury. Hip fracture is a common injury due to a fall. In 2012, there were 2,127 seniors hospitalized (567.9 per 100,000) and 279 seniors discharged from an emergency department due to a hip fracture (74.5 per 100,000).

In addition, 42 seniors died due to motor vehicle injury (11.2 per 100,000), which included occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists. There were also 344 hospitalizations (91.8 per 100,000) and 1,184 emergency department discharges (316.1 per 100,000) among seniors due to motor vehicle injury. That same year, 44 seniors died (11.7 per 100,000), 504 were hospitalized (134.6 per 100,000), and 409 were treated and discharged from the emergency department (109.2 per 100,000) due to overdose/poisoning. Twenty-one seniors aged 65 years and older also reported heat-related illness that year.

Among the senior population, elder abuse is of great concern. In fiscal year 2013/2014, there were 6,131 investigations of abuse of seniors to Adult Protective Services, of which 34.0% were confirmed cases of abuse. Of the confirmed cases, the most common allegations involved were physical abuse, financial abuse, mental suffering, and neglect. In addition, 60 seniors were hospitalized (16.0 per 100,000) and 151 seniors were treated and discharged from an emergency department for an assault injury (40.3 per 100,000). Fewer than five seniors died as a result of an assault injury (homicide).


Thirteen percent of San Diego County seniors reported binge drinking in the past year, higher than the 9.3% reported in California.

Being overweight or obese, as well as having high blood pressure can contribute to or worsen many other health conditions. In 2012, 36.6% of seniors were overweight and 19.3% were obese, which was slightly lower than that of California seniors. In addition, nearly 61% of seniors in the county have been told that they have high blood pressure, with 89.5% taking medication to manage it.

Seniors in San Diego County use the 9-1-1 system at higher rates than any other age group. 71,655 calls were made to 9-1-1 for seniors in need of emergency medical care in San Diego County in 2012. This represents a call from one out of every five seniors.

There were 108,745 seniors treated and discharged from San Diego County emergency departments, representing nearly one out of every three senior residents in 2012. That same year, 95,679 seniors aged 65 and over were hospitalized in San Diego County.

Elder and Dependent Abuse Unit



Seniors today are more active, independent, and in better health than ever before. However, as the population of seniors grows, so does the epidemic of elder abuse and neglect. The elder population is the fastest growing, most affluent and most vulnerable to abuse. San Diego has over 305,000 elders (65 and older). Statistics show that one out of twenty elders will be a victim of elder abuse in their lifetime. Only 19% of elder abuse incidents are reported.

The Elder and Dependent Abuse Unit was created in 2000 to identify those individuals who prey on senior and dependent adult citizens and to seek prosecution of these perpetrators. Apprehension and successful prosecution of these criminals is instrumental in helping to develop a more secure environment for senior and dependent adults.

Reference Websites


http://www.livewellsd.org/  (Please see the Data & Results tab)

http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_health_statistics/reports.html  (Note: In general, these and other reports can be found on the website for the County of San Diego Public Health Services)