About the Senior Report

Highlights

Find out how state's seniors rank in physical inactivity, food insecurity, SNAP reach, and hospice care and see the ranking for overall senior health. Use dropdown menus to narrow or expand information.

State Rankings Obesity Physical Inactivity Food Insecurity Poverty

2015 Ranking

See how states stack up on overall senior health. Click on a state or use the dropdown menu to get more information on each state.

USA Obesity - Seniors (2013-2015) see more
  • Percentage of adults aged 65 and older estimated to be obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.
USA Physical Inactivity - Seniors (2013-2015) see more
  • Percentage of adults aged 65 and older with fair or better health status who report doing no physical activity or exercise (such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening or walking) other than their regular job in the last 30 days.
USA Food Insecurity (2013-2015) see more
  • Percentage of adults aged 60 and older who are marginally food insecure.
USA Poverty - Seniors (2013-2015) see more
  • Percentage of adults aged 65 and older who live in households at or below 100 percent of the poverty threshold.

Aging Nation

In 2010 the median age in the US increased from 35.3 to 37.2 years, a new high[1] that shows how the nation is aging. Our aging population became more discussed in 2011 when the baby boomers began turning 65 and a remarkable demographic/societal shift in the US population commenced. It marked the start of a surge, a surge that will continue steadily for the next 20 years when both the increase in the number of older adults and their percent of the total population will flatten through 2050.

Population growth

Using the 2012 National Projections, which are based on the 2010 Census, here are key statistics concerning the senior population of the nation:

  • In 2050 adults aged 65 and older are projected to equal 83.7 million, almost double the estimated population of 43.1 million in 2012.
  • Between 2012 and 2050, the US population’s projected growth will swell from 314 million to 400 million—a 27% increase.
  •  
  • By 2030 it is projected that more than 20% of the population will be aged 65 and older, up from 13% in 2010 and 9.8% in 1970.
  •  
  • This seniors surge threatens to swamp the health care system at state and national levels. Adults aged 65 and older are the largest consumers of health care because aging carries with it the need for more frequent care. The projected growth of the senior population in the United States will pose challenges to policymakers, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, not to mention the effect it will have on families, businesses, and health care providers.

 

States With Most Growth

The pressure that this aging-of-America shift places on the nation is not evenly distributed among the states.

Projected 15-year population increases in adults aged 65 and older by state (Based on 2015 and 2030 projections)[2] 

State

15 year increase

Rank of increase

 United States

53%

 

Alabama

41%

38

Alaska

70%

4

Arizona

101%

1

Arkansas

40%

39

California

59%

13

Colorado

52%

21

Connecticut

38%

42

Delaware

60%

12

District of Columbia

-6%

51

Florida

88%

3

Georgia

61%

11

Hawaii

45%

29

Idaho

64%

6

Illinois

36%

45

Indiana

36%

44

Iowa

34%

47

Kansas

41%

34

Kentucky

42%

32

Louisiana

42%

31

Maine

49%

22

Maryland

48%

25

Massachusetts

43%

30

Michigan

38%

41

Minnesota

54%

19

Mississippi

46%

27

Missouri

41%

36

Montana

55%

17

Nebraska

38%

40

Nevada

89%

2

New Hampshire

62%

8

New Jersey

41%

33

New Mexico

62%

10

New York

33%

49

North Carolina

58%

14

North Dakota

41%

35

Ohio

33%

48

Oklahoma

37%

43

Oregon

49%

23

Pennsylvania

34%

46

Rhode Island

41%

47

South Carolina

56%

16

South Dakota

45%

28

Tennessee

46%

26

Texas

67%

5

Utah

64%

7

Vermont

53%

20

Virginia

55%

18

Washington

62%

9

West Virginia

29%

50

Wisconsin

49%

24

Wyoming

56%

15

States in bold have the highest 15-year increase in adults aged 65 and older.

A Diverse, Aging Nation

As the US population ages, it also becomes more diverse over the next several decades. According to the 2012 National Projections, the aggregate minority population is to become the majority in 2043. This diversity in population is making the disparities in health—presented throughout America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report—increasingly more important.

For example, between 2012 and 2050 life expectancy at age 85 is expected to increase by 0.5 to 1.4 years in all race/ethnicity groups but one. The increase is notably smaller for the exception, Hispanic males; the 2012 projection for their life expectancy is 7.1 years, but the 2050 projection falls to 7.0 years.

This example provides context as you read America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report and analyze the disparity for individual metrics, such as smoking, obesity, health status, and others.

 

[1] Howden LM, Meyer JA. Age and sex composition: 2010. 2010 Census Briefs. US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration. US Census Bureau. (2010).

[2] Data Source: File 2.Interim State Projections of Population for Five-Year Age Groups and Selected Age Groups by Sex: July 1, 2004 to 2030. US Census Bureau, Population Division, Interim State Population Projections, 2005.

Senior Findings

We call your attention to these highlights in the third edition of America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report:

► Vermont tops the list of healthiest states for older adults. The state has a 10% decrease in chronic drinking since last year, which moves it up 8 places in the ranking of that measure. Hospice care increases 13%, and Vermont rises 9 places in the ranking of poor mental health days; it is also strong in the community support measure.

► Other top-5 states: (2) New Hampshire, (3) Minnesota, (4) Hawaii, and (5) Utah. Utah is new to the top 5, replacing Massachusetts (6). In 2014, Massachusetts replaced Iowa, which was No. 5 in the original 2013 report. Minnesota, Vermont, and New Hampshire have consistently been in the top 5, while Hawaii has been in this group every year except 2013.

► Louisiana is No. 50.  The state’s strengths have been a high prevalence of flu vaccination and ready availability of home health care providers. But the high prevalence of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity have been yearly challenges, and 2015 challenges include a low percentage of seniors doing a dental visit yearly and a high prevalence of food insecurity.

► Other bottom-5 states: (49) Mississippi, (48) Kentucky, (47) Arizona, and (46) Oklahoma. West Virginia was in the bottom 5 in 2013 but has been out of this group since. All other states in the 2015 group have been in the bottom 5 all 3 years except Kentucky, which was No. 48 in 2014 but not in this group in 2013.

► National strengths since last year are heartening, while national challenges are concerning. Two examples: Hip fractures are down 15% since last year from 7.3 to 6.2 hospitalizations per 100 000 Medicare beneficiaries. However, physical inactivity is up 15%; this year, 33.1% of seniors were inactive, up from 28.7% last year.

 

How to Use the Rankings®

America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report is about digging deeper, digesting data, and then doing something that will improve your state’s health. Of course, the rankings are important, but they are only a starting point. Here are general guidelines about using the rankings if your state:

► Shows no change. Check the metrics because it may be that there has been a notable change in one or more measures that has been offset by equally notable changes in the opposite direction by other measures. Or it may be that there have been changes in your state but, relative to changes in other states, there’s been no change in the overall rankings.

► Shows little change. Check the metrics. A big shift in a metric or 2 may be masked by an abundance of smaller shifts with other measures.

► Shows big change. Again, investigate further to see what’s driving the change.

Once you have completed the investigation, again, use that information to take action. 

 

Downloads

Click on each listing to download a viewable and printable file of the report or presentation.

View State Information

Senior Report downloads

Senior Report, Americas Health Rankings, 2013
America's Health Rankings, 2013 Senior Report released May 2013

Senior Report, Americas Health Rankings, 2015
America's Health Rankings, 2015 Senior Report released May 2015

Senior Report - May 2015-Spanish
Spanish translation of 2015 America's Health Rankings Senior Report