The latest census data is out, and regional papers are picking up on it. In Baltimore County, the 85+ population is growing fast: up 40% between 2000 and 2007, and up 16.5% in the city itself. They’re paving the way for boomers (ages 55 to 64), whose numbers in the area rose by a third over the same period, July 2000 to July 2007. Among the old old, demographers credit overall longevity and better health care. (Maybe they’re all flocking to the first-rate geriatric center at Johns Hopkins University medical school, which I toured with Tanika White, co-author of the Baltimore Sun article, during our Knight Center seminar.)
And no longer need luck favor the lesbian — at least not in western Pennsylvania, where the ratio of males to females is approaching 50/50. This, too, reflects a broader trend: nationwide over the same period, the number of males per 100 females increased from 96 to 97. Dr. Neil Resnick, a geriatrician at the University of Pittsburgh, where the story appeared in the Tribune Review, pointed to increased use of blood-pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications, since men tend to die earlier from cardiovascular diseases. Less cheerily, women are losing ground because more now smoke now than did 30 to 50 years ago.
For context, a few stunning statistics:
U.S. life expectancy in 1900: 46.3 years for men; 48.3 for women.
Percentage of the population aged 85 and older in 1950: 0.4 percent; percentage projected by 2050: 5% .