Medicare Annual Enrollment is Happening Now: Ensure That You’re Covered!

Call: 855-943-2826

2021 Retirement Statistics

· Updated: August 10, 2021

For many people, retirement offers a little bit of everything. Words that may come to mind include these: golden years, leisure time, cruises, grandchildren, consulting work, Social Security, 401(k)s, downsizing, divorce, aging in place, and even rebirth.

Yeah, a little bit of everything! This guide offers stats on sex in retirement, favorite dating apps, gray divorce, common fears among retirees, the popularity of travel, dreams in retirement, top cities to live in, finances, poverty, retirement prep, and much more.

Table of Contents

Love, Loss, and Sex in Retirement

Sex is on many retirees' minds and even has gotten better with age for some. These folks tend to feel more confident asking for what they want and don't worry about pregnancy scares.

Plenty of retirees get hot and heavy

  • 40% of seniors have sex1
  • 54% of senior couples engage in sex
  • 61% of older couples say that sex factors into their quality of life
  • 73% of retirees 65 to 80 are satisfied with their sex lives
  • 50% of men express strong interest in sex; 12% of women do
  • 50%+ of men are sexually active; 31% of women are
  • 45% of retirees in good to excellent health are sexually active compared with 22% of retirees who rate their health as fair to poor

Trust is #1 most important factor in retiree relationships

Among people 55 and older in a 2021 Choice Mutual survey:2

  • 47% cite trust as most essential in a relationship
  • 11% prioritize honesty
  • 9% choose communication

Other desirable attributes, in decreasing order of importance, include emotional intimacy, empathy, loyalty, physical intimacy, sexual attraction, and common interests.

Dating apps help retirees find romantic partners

Among seniors 55+ in the 2021 Choice Mutual survey:2

  • More than 1/3 dated in the past five years. Among those who found love,
    • 18% had success via mutual friends' introductions
    • 13% found their significant other through dating apps
    • 12% met their partner through community events, parties, and other local activities
    • 9% met their partner through casual or everyday activities
    • 8% did so in church or religious settings
    • 7% apiece met future significant others in a senior retirement community; through work; or on social media
    • 6% met in a bar or club
    • 5% had success with dating events
    • 4% met in school
    • 4% met on vacation
  • 66% of seniors who used dating apps/websites ended up in a relationship with someone they met there
    • 35% dated someone they met on Tinder
    • 28% dated someone on Match.com
    • Hinge, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, and eHarmony also proved successful for many seniors
  • 54% of survey respondents had not been on a date in the past five years
  • 10% had not been in a relationship lasting more than a year
  • 14% of widows seriously dated in the past five years
  • 62% of widows did not date at all

NYC scores AARP's #1 recommendation for retirees looking to date

The Big Apple ranks so highly because it offers a wide pool of retirees and plenty of opportunities to meet and mingle. Retirees can also access good quality healthcare and diverse amenities. Here are the top 10 cities AARP recommends for dating in retirement:3

  1. New York City
  2. Denver
  3. Austin
  4. The Villages, Fla.
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Sun City, Az.
  7. Madison, Wisc.
  8. Arlington, Va.
  9. Springfield, Mass.
  10. Palm Springs, Calif.

States with highest rates of sexually transmitted infections among 55 and older

  • Washington, D.C., 881.8 infections per 100,0004
  • New York, 236.2 infections per 100,000
  • Maryland, 172.7 infections per 100,000

States with the lowest rates

  • Montana, 20 infections per 100,0004
  • Wyoming, 17.8 infections per 100,000
  • North Dakota, 14.9 infections per 100,000

“Gray” divorce among retirees

For some couples, retirement means reconnection, while others continue the same as always, whether good or bad. Some folks experience serious ups and downs but stay together. Of course, a decent chunk of retirees split up.

Divorce later in life has become so common it has a term: “gray divorce.” Bill and Melinda Gates, and Al and Tipper Gore are two well-known couples who bade sayonara to spouses they married years ago.

  • Someone who is 65 years old today can expect to live about another 20 years. For some retirees, two decades is too long of a time to spend in an empty or bad marriage.5
  • Just one generation ago, people 50 and older accounted for less than 10% of divorces. Now, they're involved in more than 25% of divorces.
  • More than 50% of older divorces occur among folks married more than 20 years.
  • About two-thirds of people 50 and older (versus less than half of younger adults) see divorce as the best solution when couples cannot resolve marriage issues.
  • 2.5: Rate of gray divorce among remarried couples 50 or older compared with those married for the first time
  • 344,755: Number of women 50 and older who divorced in 2017.6
  • 10.3: Number of divorces per 1,000 married women 50 and older in 2017
  • 4.9: Number of divorces per 1,000 married women 50 and older in 1990

States with the highest gray divorce rates per 1,000 women:6

  • Delaware 13.4
  • Nevada 12.5
  • Kentucky 12.3
  • Idaho 12.3
  • New Mexico 12.2

States with the lowest gray divorce rates per 1,000 women:6

  • South Dakota 5.1
  • Iowa 6.3
  • Montana 6.4
  • Nebraska 6.5
  • Rhode Island 7.0

Almost 10%: Percentage by which a previous divorce increases retirement financial risk for women who are currently married. The reasons have to do with divorce-related financial woes such as asset splitting, legal fees and expenses, and the shift to two households instead of one. Women also tend to have a trickier road to navigate since they often work and serve as their children's primary caregivers.7

6 years: Average length of time by which a wife outlives her husband7

Health in retirement

Most folks worry at least a little about what their health will be like in retirement. However, not everyone is taking steps today to minimize these health-related risks down the road.8

  • 82% of folks express concern about their health in retirement
  • 57% skip behaviors such as smoking and drinking
  • 57% follow a healthful diet
  • 50% exercise routinely
  • 43% try to think big picture when making lifestyle choices
  • 42% engage in proactive health measures such as regular self and medical checkups
  • 17% meditate, do relaxation exercises, or otherwise focus on mindfulness

Common fears in retirement

  • 44%, worsening health that requires long-term care9
  • 44%, Social Security reductions or total elimination
  • 41%, outliving savings and investments
  • 31%, dementia or cognitive decline
  • 22%, little or no access to good, affordable healthcare

Stats on Travel, Leisure, and Volunteer Activities

Travel is a huge retirement goal for people around the world. Transamerica surveyed thousands of working and retired folks in 15 countries to identify top goals. Travel emerged as number one. Here's the list of aspirations for retirement:10

Dreams for retirement

Traveling 62%

More time with friends and family 57%

New hobbies 48%

Volunteer work 26%

Work in the same field 15%

Live abroad 12%

Study 12%

Work in another field 11%

New business 10%

Don't know or none of the above 6%

In total, 26 percent of these goals relate to business or paid work.

COVID-19 and travel in 2021

  • 54% of Baby Boomers plan to travel in 2021. Of that 54%:11
  • 23% did not travel at all in 2020
  • 47% planned to travel in 2021 only if a vaccine was available; fortunately, it is
  • 74% noted that COVID-19 issues will prevent them from taking all the trips they would rather go on in 2021
  • 57% wanted to travel to spend time with friends and family
  • 13% plan to take cruises
  • 93% of Boomers who don't plan to travel in 2021 cited the pandemic as the reason.

Obviously, a lot of travel funds went unspent in 2020. Boomers were more likely than their younger counterparts to save the cash for future trips.11

  • 58% of Boomers earmarked unspent money for future trips
  • $6,691: Amount Boomers expect to spend on 2021 travel vs. $5,000 for Gen X and $4,000 for Millennials

More retiree travel stats

  • 63% of people 50 and older polled by RBC Wealth Management note travel as a critical retirement goal12
  • 75% of people 50 and older with household incomes of at least $50,000 said travel was important; 50% who had incomes under $50,000 gave the same designation
  • 99% of Boomers plan at least one trip in a normal year (non-COVID)
  • More than 5: Number of trips each Boomer takes per year on average
  • 4 of 10 head internationally to Mexico, the Caribbean, the British Isles, and other destinations
  • $11,077: Amount of money the average retiree spends every year on travel13
  • $44,051: Mean after-tax household income for people 65 and older

America the Beautiful – National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Passes

  • 108 of 422: Number of national park sites with entrance fees (where you'd need to use a pass)14
  • 62 or older: Age to qualify for senior passes from the National Park Service
  • $80 + $10 processing fee: Cost of lifetime Senior Pass from the National Park Service
  • $10: Cost of the pass before the increase in 2017
  • $20 + $10 processing fee: Cost of an annual Senior Pass
  • 4: Number of annual senior passes you can trade in to receive a lifetime pass
  • Free + $10 handling fee: Cost of lifetime access pass for people with permanent disabilities

Travel for pleasure is slightly more common among retirees who live with others

  • 47% of seniors living alone say they travel for pleasure15
  • 55% of seniors living with others report traveling for pleasure

Higher percentage of women than men spend time on hobbies

  • 65% of women 65+ living alone and 63% of women living with others report devoting more time to hobbies and interests in retirement 15
  • 49% of men living alone and 73% of men living with others report devoting more time to hobbies and interests in retirement

Many retirees do volunteer or community work

  • 42% of men who live alone and 56% of men who live with others say they volunteer or are involved in their community15
  • 49% of women who live alone and 55% of women who live with others say they volunteer or are involved in their community

Older age generally means less stress

  • 59% of seniors living alone say their lives have less stress as they get older15
  • 60% of seniors living with others indicate the same

Retirees eager to help in elections; most poll workers are 61 or older

  • 31% are 61 to 70 years old16
  • 27% are 71 or older
  • 26% are 41 to 60 years old
  • 9% are 26 to 40
  • 4% are 18 to 25
  • 4% are 17 or younger

Retirees more likely than younger people to vote

  • 64% of seniors 65 and older voted in the Nov. 2018 elections17
    • 55%: Voter turnout among ages 45 to 64
    • 44%: Voter turnout among ages 35 to 44
    • 37%: Voter turnout among ages 25 to 34
    • 30%: Voter turnout among ages 18 to 24

AmeriCorps Seniors offers retiree volunteer opportunities

  • 55 or older: Age to qualify for AmeriCorps Seniors18
  • 200,000+: Number of volunteers every year helping children read, assisting neighbors, and participating in other projects
  • 47 million: Hours served by AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers each year
  • 1,000+: Number of veterans with AmeriCorps Seniors
  • 88%: Percentage of volunteers lacking companionship who felt less isolated after starting
  • 84%: Percentage of volunteers who report stable or improving health after one year volunteering
  • 5: Number of core programs: foster grandparent, RSVP, senior companion, VISTA, and state and national

Retired folks like their technology

  • $1,144: Average amount adults 50 and older spent on technology in 202119
  • Top 3 tech purchases: Smartphones, smart TVs, Bluetooth headsets/earbuds
  • 64% of the 50+ set owned a smart TV in 2020, a noticeable increase from 49% in 2019
  • 50+% of seniors 70 and older own a smart TV
  • 80% of adults 50 and older use tech to stay connected to family and friends; COVID-19 prompted many to try this method
  • 44% of the older adults surveyed feel more positively about technology now than they did before the pandemic emerged
  • 53% of seniors 70 and older have a tablet
    • 69% of these tablet-owning seniors say they use it daily
    • In 2019, just 40% of seniors reported owning a tablet
  • 38% of the 50+ set watched “traditional” TV (network and cable) in 2020, a huge drop from 2019's 60%. Many have turned to streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
  • 76% of adults 50+ have wireline high-speed internet
  • 18% of adults 50+ lack internet access or have access only thanks to their cellphone or satellite company
  • 5% don't know if they could get internet at home
  • 60% of all adults 50+ say the cost of internet access is an issue

Facebook is a top social media hangout

Among people 65+, here's the percentage who use the various social media platforms:20

  • Facebook 50%
  • YouTube 49%
  • Instagram 13%
  • Pinterest 18%
  • LinkedIn 11%
  • Snapchat 2%
  • Twitter 7%
  • WhatsApp 10%
  • TikTok 4%
  • Reddit 3%
  • Nextdoor 8%

Among people 50 to 64, here's the percentage on the various social media platforms:

  • YouTube 83%
  • Facebook 73%
  • Instagram 29%
  • Pinterest 38%
  • LinkedIn 33%
  • Snapchat 12%
  • Twitter 18%
  • WhatsApp 23%
  • TikTok 14%
  • Reddit 10%
  • Nextdoor 16%

Leisure, recreation, and more at an all-retiree community in Florida

  • $164: Monthly amenity fee at The Villages, an all-retiree (55+) community in Florida. For this fee, residents get access to golf, swimming, tennis, pickleball, fishing areas, nature trails, dog parks, 24-hour neighborhood watch, and much more21
  • 2,700+: Number of social clubs and lifestyle groups there
  • $758: Monthly minimum residents can expect to pay for the amenity fee, insurance, utilities, trash collection, and other expenses
  • $180,000ish: Starting price of houses in The Villages
  • 115,000+: Number of residents in The Villages

For retirees who love bargains

  • 20%: Percentage discount for eligible items at Walgreens on Seniors Day. Seniors must be 55 or older, or have AARP membership. Other retailers offering senior or low-income discounts include Rite Aid, Kohl's, Goodwill, and Amazon.22

Finances in Retirement

80%: By one estimate, the percentage of pre-retirement income retirees need to live comfortably. So, if you made $100,000 per year pre-retirement, $80,000 per year should suffice in retirement. If possible, don't include expected Social Security income when planning how to get that 80 percent. That way, you have Social Security cash as a fallback if you're short of money.23

Significant healthcare expenses are likely

  • $300,000: Amount a retired couple can expect to spend on healthcare. This sum includes Medicare premiums, copays, deductibles, and non-covered prescription drugs.24
    • 43% of retiree healthcare spending goes to copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and similar expenses
    • 39% of healthcare spending goes to Medicare Part B and D premiums
    • 18% goes to generic, branded, and specialty drugs
  • 15%: Percentage of annual expenses retirees can expect to pay on healthcare costs
  • 33% of the people who take early Social Security retirement at 62 do so to help pay healthcare expenses

Common retiree income sources

A Federal Reserve survey shed light on where retirees get their income.

  • 79% of retirees get Social Security income (93% among retirees 65+)25
  • 59% receive pensions (68% among retirees 65+)
  • 46% get dividend income, interest, or rental income (50% among retirees 65+)
  • 32% draw from salaries, wages, or self-employment (25% among retirees 65+)
  • 12% get cash transfers that aren't Social Security (7% among retirees 65+)

Respondents could select multiple answers and count a spouse's income source as their own.

Increases in number of retirees getting Social Security

  • 46.33 million retirees received Social Security in 202026
  • 40.09 million did in 2015
  • 34.59 million did in 2010

Stats on senior/retiree poverty and homelessness

The next few stats also show up in a report we did on senior poverty and homelessness. For a deeper look, give the report a read.

  • 90%: Percentage of cash income going to lower-income seniors from Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)27
  • 12.8%: Percentage of seniors 65 and older living in poverty, according to the supplemental poverty measure
  • $12,261: Poverty threshold for a single senior 65 or older
  • $15,453: Poverty threshold for couples 65+ with no children

Retirement Prep Among Folks Who Are Not Retired

What prompts people to start saving for retirement?28

  • Turned a certain age 29%
  • Employer offered matching contributions 24%
  • Employer started paying into a plan 22%
  • No particular reason 17%
  • Automatic enrollment in employer’s retirement plan 16%
  • Started a family 15%
  • Started first job 12%
  • Bought first home 9%
  • Promotion /pay raise 9%
  • Started new (not first) job 9%
  • Separation/divorce 7%
  • Got married 7%
  • Other reason 6%
  • Paid off student loan 6%
  • Lost job 5%
  • Can’t remember 2%

Age people started saving for retirement29

  • 35 years old: Baby Boomers
  • 28 years old: Generation X
  • 22 years old: Millennials

Self-employed conscious of need to save for retirement30

  • 75% of self-employed folks feel personally responsible for ensuring adequate retirement income
  • 45% of self-employed people expect their retirement income to stem from savings and investments (vs. 32% for employed workers)

Retirement savings not on track for many25

  • About 75% of non-retired adults have some savings for retirement; just 36% see their savings as being on track
  • About 25% of non-retired adults have no retirement savings
  • For adults with retirement savings:
    • 54% have defined contribution pensions such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s
    • 33% have IRAs
    • 21% have defined benefit pensions
    • 48% possess savings that aren't in retirement accounts
    • 9% own business or real estate
    • 12% have other types of retirement savings

How much money the different age groups have saved for retirement31

  • 18-24 years $4,745.25
  • 25-29 years $9,408.51
  • 30-34 years $21,731.92
  • 35-39 years $48,710.27
  • 40-44 years $101,899.22
  • 45-49 years $148,950.14
  • 50-54 years $146,068.38
  • 55-59 years $223,493.56
  • 60-64 years $221,451.67
  • 65-69 years $206,819.35
  • 70-74 years $203,964.21
  • 75-79 years $143,613.22
  • 80+ years $128,216.59

Not surprisingly, retirement savings decrease as people actually retire and use the funds they've earmarked.

7 popular account types for retirement savings (2020)32

  1. Regular savings account 55% of survey respondents had this type of account
  2. 401(k) 54% of survey respondents had this type of account
  3. Traditional IRA 20% of survey respondents had this type of account
  4. Roth IRA 19% of survey respondents had this type of account
  5. Certificate of deposit 19% of survey respondents had this type of account
  6. Annuity/life insurance policy 17% of survey respondents had this type of account
  7. Taxable investment account 17% of survey respondents had this type of account

Retirement prep can be stressful, and many folks aren't confident about the likelihood of comfortable golden years

  • 29% of workers are very confident they will have the resources for a comfortable retirement)33
  • 42% are somewhat confident
  • 19% are not too confident
  • 21% strongly agree that retirement prep stresses them out
  • 37% somewhat agree
  • 27% somewhat disagree
  • 14% strongly disagree
  • 49% of all workers have estimated how much money they need monthly for a comfortable retirement
  • 38% have estimated their health expenses in retirement
  • 43% plan for emergency expenses when doing retirement savings
  • 39% have considered the amount of money to withdraw in retirement
  • 33% are working with a financial professional; 38% who aren't currently working with one expect to later
  • 51% have thought about how they're going to occupy themselves when retired

Sources of information for retirement prep33

Family, friends 35%

Online resources, DIY research 35%

Financial advisors 27%

Employer or work-provided information 22%

Online or formula-based advice 17%

Work retirement plan reps 16%

Media financial figures 16%

Church or religious leaders 6%

Community centers, libraries 6%

Other 4%

None of the above 17%

Retirement readiness has increased a bit since 201234

  • 5.57: U.S. retirement readiness index score in 2012 (1 to 10, 10 being the highest score)
  • 6.67: Score in 2016
  • 6.7: Score in 2020

Why Retire?

The reasons for retiring can be voluntary or involuntary. When it's voluntary, the most common reasons are:

  • Desire to do other things 48%25
  • At normal retirement age 45%
  • Dislike of current work 14%

Survey respondents could choose multiple answers. For involuntary retirements, the most common reasons are:

  • Health issue 29%
  • Caretaking for relatives or friends 15%
  • Forced to retire or no work available 11%

29% of people who retired in the year prior to May 2020 cited COVID-19 as a factor. These people were more likely to say they involuntarily retired due to a lack of available work or because their jobs forced them to.

Stats on military retirees

  • 20 years: Length of time people in the military can serve and receive retirement pay35
  • 2.19 million: Estimated number of military retirees in 2021
  • 2.28 million: Forecasted number of military retirees in 2031

Retired and Still Working

  • 55% of workers aim to keep working in retirement36
    • 14% want to work full time
    • 41% say they will work part-time
  • Of that 55%:
    • 53% will work because they need the extra money
    • 35% must work to afford retirement
    • 47% say work will help them stay active
    • 39% say work will be good for their brainpower
    • 34% point to work as giving them a sense of purpose
    • 21% like the idea of working since it fosters social connections
  • 2x: Likelihood that a worker 65 or older is part-time vs. a worker 25 to 64 years old

27% of adults in 2020 said they're retired even though they still work at least a bit25

13% of retirees have worked for pay or profit in the prior month

Top 10 jobs among workers older than 55

AARP compiled a list of top retiree jobs based on how common a job was among the 55+ set, the pay, physical demands, job satisfaction, and other factors.36

  1. Full charge bookkeeper
  2. Bookkeeper
  3. Dental hygienist
  4. School bus driver
  5. Office manager
  6. Registered nurse
  7. Administrative assistant
  8. Secretary
  9. Licensed practical nurse
  10. Paralegal

The 10 jobs with the highest percentage of workers 66 and older37

  1. Tax preparers 14.2%
  2. Clergy 13.6%
  3. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers 12.7%
  4. Bus and ambulance drivers and attendants 12.6%
  5. Real estate brokers and sales agents 11.7%
  6. Psychologists 11.7%
  7. Barbers 11.3%
  8. Musicians, singers, and related workers 10.9%
  9. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 10.0%
  10. Dentists 9.7%

Home Sweet Home

Where retirees live
Here's a look at the factors involved in whether retirees stay put or move.38

  • Affordable cost of living 63%
  • Close to friends and family 62%
  • Access to hospitals and great healthcare 48%
  • Low crime rate 42%
  • Good weather 40%

The best cities to retire in for 2021

According to Forbes39

 

  1. Asheville, NC
  2. Augusta, Ga.
  3. Beaufort, SC
  4. Charlotte, NC
  5. Clearwater, Fla.
  6. College Station, Tx.
  7. Columbia, Mo.
  8. Fargo, ND
  9. Green Valley, Ariz.
  10. Iowa City, Iowa
  11. Jacksonville, Fla.
  12. Knoxville, Tenn.
  13. Lawrence, Kan.
  14. Lincoln, Neb.
  15. Pittsburgh
  16. Pittsfield, Mass.
  17. Roanoke, Va.
  18. Rochester, Minn.
  19. San Antonio, Tx.
  20. Savannah, Ga.
  21. Sioux Falls, SD
  22. Sun City, Ariz.
  23. The Villages, Fla.
  24. Virginia Beach, Va.
  25. Wenatchee, Wa.
According to U.S. News & World Report40

 

  1. Sarasota, Fla.
  2. Fort Myers, Fla.
  3. Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  4. Naples, Fla.
  5. Lancaster, Pa.
  6. Ocala, Fla.
  7. Ann Arbor, Mich.
  8. Asheville, NC
  9. Miami
  10. Melbourne, Fla.
  11. Myrtle Beach, SC
  12. Nashville, Tenn.
  13. Jacksonville, Fla.
  14. Manchester, NH
  15. Daytona Beach, Fla.
  16. Orlando, Fla.
  17. Dallas-Fort Worth, Tx.
  18. Lakeland, Fla.
  19. Chattanooga, Tenn.
  20. Tampa, Fla.
  21. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  22. Houston
  23. Charlotte, NC
  24. San Antonio, Tx.
  25. Pensacola, Fla.

Best states to retire in for 202141

  1. Georgia
  2. Florida
  3. Tennessee
  4. Missouri
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Wyoming
  7. Arizona
  8. Ohio
  9. Indiana
  10. Kentucky

Worst states to retire in for 202141

  1. Maryland
  2. Minnesota
  3. Kansas
  4. Montana
  5. Alaska
  6. Maine
  7. Arkansas
  8. Alabama
  9. Idaho
  10. Connecticut

Living alone or with others

  • 35 million (or about 70% of seniors): Number of seniors who live alone or with a spouse/partner. This is out of the nearly 50 million U.S. seniors27
  • 20%: Percentage of seniors in multigenerational households
  • 24 million: Number of homeowners in the U.S. who are 65 and older
  • 7 million: Number of renters in the U.S. who are 65 and older
  • 1.2 million: Number of seniors who live in nursing homes

Living alone

  • 33% of seniors 65 and older who live alone say they do so in financial comfort15
  • 24% have a little left over after meeting basic expenses
  • 25% have just enough money to satisfy basic expenses
  • 12% lack sufficient funds to take care of basics

Living with others

  • 49% of seniors 65 and older who live with others say they do so in financial comfort15
  • 26% have a little left over after meeting basic expenses
  • 16% have just enough money to satisfy basic expenses
  • 5% lack sufficient funds to take care of basics

Older men who live alone more likely to feel social isolation vs. women living alone

  • 48% of male seniors living alone are very satisfied with how many friends they have15
  • 62% of male seniors living with others are very satisfied with how many friends they have
  • 71% of female seniors living alone are very satisfied with how many friends they have
  • 67% of female seniors living with others are very satisfied with how many friends they have

811,500: Number of residents in assisted living42

  • 71% are women
  • 29% are men

33 licensed beds: Average size of an assisted living community43

28,900: Number of assisted living communities in the U.S.

996,100: Number of licensed beds

$48,000: Average yearly cost of assisted living. It's less than the $48,048 for homemaker services and the $50,336 for home health aides

Not many homes are sufficient for aging in place

  • 10%: Percentage of homes that are aging-ready, with a first-floor bedroom and bathroom, stair-free entryway, and a bathroom with one or more accessibility features44
  • 28% of homes with residents 65 or older give seniors trouble with stairs, bathtub, kitchen use, or some other element of the home
  • 2: Number of critical home accessibility designs for aging in place. They are bathroom accessibility and single-floor living.

The Meaning of Retirement, Actual Social Security Retirement Ages, and More

What does “retirement” mean, anyway? You may have noticed that this stats compilation includes figures on people 50 and older, 55 and older, and 65 and older.

From one perspective, people enter retirement when they leave the workforce and rely on savings and investments. However, you can become a full AARP member at age 50. Also, from the perspective of the government, “retirement” occurs when you start to receive Social Security benefits. Let's look at some stats in this area.

Retirement and Social Security Stats

  • 62 years old: The earliest someone can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits (although not full benefits)45
  • 65 years old: Age when seniors should apply for Medicare benefits even if they delay receiving Social Security
  • 66 years old: Full retirement age for people born from 1943 to 1954
  • 66 and 2 months: Full retirement age for people born in 1955
  • 66 and 4 months: Full retirement age for people born in 1956
  • 66 and 6 months: Full retirement age for people born in 1957
  • 66 and 8 months: Full retirement age for people born in 1958
  • 66 and 10 months: Full retirement age for people born in 1959
  • 67: Full retirement age for people born in 1960 and later

Suppose you were born in 1957 and have a full retirement age of 66 years, 6 months.46

  • Start Social Security at full retirement age: 100% retirement benefits
  • Delay until you're 67: 104% benefits due to the six-month interval
  • Delay until you're 70: 128% benefits due to the 42-month delay

After 70, you can keep delaying if you want, but it doesn't increase your monthly benefit amounts anymore.47

  • $3,148: Maximum benefit if you get to full retirement age in 2021
  • $2,324: Maximum benefit if you’re 62 in 2021 and start taking Social Security
  • $3,895: Maximum benefit if you’re 70 in 2021 and delayed collecting benefits until then
  • 20+%: Amount by which a husband can boost his Social Security survivor’s benefit if he delays filing for benefits until he is 66 (compared with 62).7
  • 60%: Amount the husband’s survivor’s benefit goes up if he waits to claim Social Security until age 70
  • Why it matters: Wives outlive their husbands by about six years, as mentioned earlier. Men also tend to have higher benefit amounts. Widows can collect more money by getting a survivor’s benefit instead of their own.

General Retiree (Older Population) Stats

  • 2034: Year by which adults 65+ are projected to outnumber children for the first time (77 million vs. 76.5 million)48
  • 2060: Year by which the population differences will have become more clear, with 94.7 million seniors (23.4% of the total population) and 80.1 million children (19.8% of the total population)
  • 2011: Year the first Baby Boomers turned 6544
  • 2030: Year all Baby Boomers will be older than 65
  • 2050: Year all Baby Boomers will be older than 85

Retirement Statistics

As all the stats above show, retirement really is different for everyone. For instance, some retirees work to keep their brains sharp, while others do it out of necessity. Some married retirees divorce, while others travel the world with their spouses.

No matter what, starting to plan early can help ensure you get the retirement you aspire to. Have a good idea of the amount of money you'll need, what your retirement goals are, and your preferences for living situations (aging in place, retirement community, assisted living, etc.).

References and Endnotes

  1. Norton, Amy. (2018, May 03). Sex Still Matters to Many Seniors, Survey Finds. WebMD. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20180503/sex-still-matters-to-many-seniors-survey-finds#1
  2. Martin, Anthony. (2021). Survey: Dating & Love Among 55+ in 2021. Choice Mutual. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://choicemutual.com/senior-love/
  3. Freed, Stacey. (2021, Jan. 14). 10 Great Cities for Older Singles. AARP. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2021/best-cities-for-mature-daters.html
  4. Estes, Clay. (2020, Feb. 26). Historic High Rates Of STI's Among Older Americans. Forbes. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/claryestes/2020/02/26/historic-high-rates-of-stis-among-older-americans/
  5. Brown, Susan L. (2021, May 05). Bill and Melinda Gates Are Getting Divorced. So Are Increasing Numbers of Older Americans. NBC News. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/bill-melinda-gates-are-getting-divorced-so-are-increasing-numbers-ncna1266397
  6. Allred, Colette. (2019). Gray Divorce Rate in the U.S.: Geographic Variation, 2017. Bowling Green State University. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.bgsu.edu/ncfmr/resources/data/family-profiles/allred-gray-divorce-rate-geo-var-2017-fp-19-20.html
  7. Miller, Mark. (2019, Aug. 27). Women, Marriage, and Retirement Risk. Morningstar. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.morningstar.com/articles/943971/women-marriage-and-retirement-risk
  8. Disconnect Between Future Health Concerns and Current Healthy Behaviors. (2017). Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://transamericacenter.org/retirement-research/global-retirement-survey/infographics/retirement-health-concerns
  9. Retirees’ Greatest Fears – Infographic. (2015). Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://transamericacenter.org/retirement-research/retiree-survey/retirees’-greatest-fears
  10. Global Retirement Aspirations. (2017). Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://transamericacenter.org/retirement-research/global-retirement-survey/infographics/global-retirement-aspirations
  11. Levy, Vicky. (2021, Feb.). Despite COVID-19 Concerns, Many Boomers Plan to Travel in 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2021/2021-travel-trends.html
  12. Traveling in Retirement Is a Dream, but High Costs Could Derail Plans. (n.d.). RBC Wealth Management. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/us/en/research-insights/traveling-in-retirement-is-a-dream-but-high-costs-could-derail-plans/detail/
  13. How to Estimate Retirement Expenses. (n.d.). Boston Premier Wealth. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.bostonpremierwealth.com/retirement
  14. Changes to the Senior Pass. (Last updated 2020, Nov. 20). National Park Service. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/senior-pass-changes.htm
  15. Stepler, Renee. (2016, Feb. 18). 3. Well-being of older adults living alone. Pew Research Center. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2016/02/18/3-well-being-of-older-adults-living-alone/
  16. Barthel, Michael, and Stocking, Galen. (2020, April 06). Older People Account for Large Shares of Poll Workers and Voters in U.S. General Elections. Pew Research Center. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/06/older-people-account-for-large-shares-of-poll-workers-and-voters-in-u-s-general-elections/
  17. Brandon, Emily. (2020, Oct. 05). Why Older Citizens are More Likely to Vote. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/aging/articles/why-older-citizens-are-more-likely-to-vote
  18. Make Giving Back Your Second Act. (n.d.). AmeriCorps. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://americorps.gov/serve/americorps-seniors
  19. Kakulla, Brittne. (2021, April). 2021 Tech Trends and the 50-Plus. PDF. AARP. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/surveys_statistics/technology/2021/2021-tech-trends-older-adults.doi.10.26419-2Fres.00420.001.pdf
  20. Anderson, Monica, and Auxier, Brooke. (2021, April 07). Social Media Use in 2021. Pew Research Center. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/04/07/social-media-use-in-2021/
  21. Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). The Villages. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.thevillages.com/faq
  22. Hoyt, Jeff, and Stanley, Maureen. (Updated 2021, June 29). Senior Discounts and Savings. SeniorLiving.org. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.seniorliving.org/finance/senior-discounts/
  23. Hoyt, Jeff, and Stanley, Maureen. (Updated 2021, June 28). How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? SeniorLiving.org. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.seniorliving.org/retirement/money/
  24. How to Plan for Rising Health Care Costs. (2021, May 06). Fidelity. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/plan-for-rising-health-care-costs
  25. Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020. (2021, May). Federal Reserve. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2021-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2020-retirement.htm
  26. Number of Retired Workers Receiving Social Security in the United States from 2010 to 2020. (2021, Jan. 19). Statista. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/194295/number-of-us-retired-workers-who-receive-social-security/
  27. Seniors and Poverty/Homelessness Statistics. (2021, July 13). SeniorLiving.org. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.seniorliving.org/finance/senior-poverty-homelessness-statistics/
  28. Reasons for Starting to Save Money for Retirement in the United States in 2020. (2021, Feb. 26). Statista. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/559486/retirement-saving-triggers-in-the-usa/
  29. Age Started Saving for Retirement by Generation. (2016). Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://transamericacenter.org/retirement-research/17th-annual-retirement-survey/17th-annual-infographics/age-started-saving-for-retirement
  30. Self-Employment Requires Retirement Self-Reliance. (2016). Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://transamericacenter.org/retirement-research/global-retirement-survey/infographics/self-employed-retirement-savings
  31. Average Value of Retirement Savings in the United States in 2020, By Age. (2021, March 09). Statista. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1218439/value-retirement-savings-by-age-us/
  32. Most Popular Accounts for Retirement Savings in the United States in 2020. (2021, March 01). Statista. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/542709/accounts-used-for-retirement-savings-usa/
  33. 2021 RCS Fact Sheet #3: Preparing For Retirement in America. (2021). PDF. Employee Benefit Research Institute. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.ebri.org/docs/default-source/rcs/2021-rcs/rcs_21-fs-3_prep.pdf?sfvrsn=73d83a2f_4
  34. Retirement Readiness Index Score in the United States from 2012 to 2020. (2020, Nov. 23). Statista. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/502342/readiness-for-retirement-index-usa/
  35. Duffin, Erin. (2021, March 02). Forecast of the Number of Military Retirees in the United States from 2021 to 2031. Statista. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/217354/forecast-number-of-military-retirees-in-the-us/
  36. Rapacon, Stacey. (2020, March 05). Top 25 Part-Time Jobs for Retirees. AARP. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.aarp.org/work/job-search/info-2020/part-time-jobs-for-retirees.html
  37. Wilson, Chris. (2017, April 05). The 50 Jobs Where People Work the Longest. Time. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://time.com/4726657/retirement-age-jobs/
  38. Important Criteria in Retirees’ Choice of Where to Live in Retirement – Infographic. (2015). Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://transamericacenter.org/retirement-research/retiree-survey/where-to-live-in-retirement
  39. Barrett, William P. (2021, May 14). The Best Places to Retire in 2021. Forbes. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/williampbarrett/2021/05/14/the-best-places-to-retire-in-2021/?sh=132105387106
  40. Brandon, Emily. (2020, Oct. 13). The Best Places to Retire in 2021. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/the-best-places-to-retire?slide=17
  41. Ostrowski, Jeff. (2021, July 07). The Best and Worst States for Retirement 2021. Bankrate. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.bankrate.com/retirement/best-and-worst-states-for-retirement/
  42. Assisted Living: A Growing Aspect of Long Term Care. (2019). PDF. National Center for Assisted Living. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.ahcancal.org/Advocacy/IssueBriefs/NCAL_Factsheet_2019.pdf
  43. Facts & Figures. (n.d.). National Center for Assisted Living. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.ahcancal.org/Assisted-Living/Facts-and-Figures/Pages/default.aspx
  44. Vespa, Jonathan, Engelberg, Jeremy, and He, Wan. (2020, May). Old Housing, New Needs: Are U.S. Homes Ready for an Aging Population? PDF. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2020/demo/p23-217.pdf
  45. Retirement Benefits. (n.d.). Social Security Administration. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/agereduction.html
  46. Retirement Benefits. (n.d.). Social Security Administration. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/1957-delay.html
  47. Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Social Security Administration. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-01897
  48. Stats for Stories: National Senior Citizens Day. (2020, Aug. 21). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/senior-citizens-day.html