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As first declared in a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, Friday, August 21 is National Senior Citizens Day.
In recognition of this day, the U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a national data base of 2016 statistics related to Americans aged 65-plus.
And the State of Iowa figures prominently in those statistics.
For example, 16.4 percent of all Iowans are aged 65 or older. That compares to the “oldest” state – Florida at 19.9 percent. The “youngest state”? Utah at 10.5 percent.
The Census statistics cover a broad range of categories pertaining to the nation’s senior population.
The percentage of married Iowa seniors (62.0) trails only three other states – Utah (64.2), Wyoming (62.5), and Idaho (62.3).
When it comes to national origin, Iowa ranks among the states with the lowest percentage of foreign-born senior citizens (2.2). The national leader in this category is South Dakota, where only 0.8 percent of that state’s seniors were foreign-born.
Iowa also ranks among the highest percentage of seniors who speak only English (97.3), trailing only Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia in that category.
When it comes to education, 89.6 percent of Iowa seniors have a high school diploma or higher as compared to a median of 85.3 percent for all states. However, at 22.1 percent, Iowa ranks near the bottom of rankings of seniors with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Iowa falls near the middle of the pack of seniors with Internet access, 73.1 percent versus 75.1 percent nationally.
Overall, Iowans appear to be a healthy lot, as only 32 percent reported difficulty with hearing, vision, cognition, ambulation, self-care, or running errands. Colorado seniors led the way nationally, with only 30.6 percent of seniors reporting any type of disability.
Retirement is a major concern for seniors, but 19.8 percent of Iowa seniors reported as still active in the work force, compared to 17.7 percent nationally. One reason older Iowans continue to work may be the fact only 35.5 percent of Iowa seniors reported retirement income, below the national average of 37.9 percent.
One additional statistic projected that the number of American senior citizens with equal the number of children 18 and under by 2034. By 2060, that gap is expected to increase to 23.4 percent seniors to 19.8 percent children.
More statistics related to senior citizens and other demographic groups may be found at census.gov.