December 12, 2018
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What new Census data tell us about older Mainers

Terry Sandusky | Star-Herald
Terry Sandusky | Star-Herald
Christine McPherson of the Aroostook Retired Seniors Program hands an information brochure to John Defelice.

One out of five Mainers is 65 or older, as is the case in the nation’s other oldest states, Florida and West Virginia. But elder age groups can differ dramatically in their activities, a new U.S. Census Bureau study shows.

In Maine, for example, 77.5 percent of those age 65 and older have internet access in their homes as of the latest study data in 2016. By age group, however, 84.7 percent of those age 65 to 74 have internet access, but that drops to 72.2 percent for those age 75 to 84 and falls off even more to 53.9 percent for those 85 and older.

Some 19.9 percent of Mainers age 65 and older are working, with the bulk, 29.3 percent, in the 65 to 74 age group. That matches up with the 30 percent of males and 22 percent of females age 65 to 74 nationally who are working.

About 34.4 percent of Mainers age 65 and older have retirement income, with the highest amount, 39.7 percent, among those age 85 and older.

Mainers also tend to value education, with 87.7 percent of those 65 and older having a high school diploma and 27.9 percent having a bachelor’s degree.

The bureau’s numbers show little diversity in the elderly population. Most, 91.4 percent of those 65 and older, speak only English, while only 4.2 percent are foreign-born.

More than half, or 56.9 percent, are married, though that diminishes through the age groups, with only 28.3 percent of those 85 and older being married.

Overall, 19.3 percent of Mainers are 65 or older, with 11.4 percent falling into the 65 to 75 age group, 5.3 percent in the 75 to 84 group and 2.6 percent in the 85 and older group.

That compares with Vermont’s 65 and older population of 18.3 percent and New Hampshire’s 17 percent.

The U.S. Census Bureau has an interactive map online where different parameters for each state can be seen.

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