Quick Facts about Aging

Demographic and census data from a variety of sources.

General Population Data

  • In 2011, 13.3% of the total NC population was 65 and over. [2]
  • It is projected that by 2031 19.6% of the population will be 65 and over. [2]
  • Between 2011 and 2025, North Carolina’s 60+ population is projected to increase by over 860,000, reaching 2.72 million by 2025. [3]
  • The median age in NC is projected to increase from 36.9 years in 2009 to 39.5 years in 2033. [4]
  • Between 2000 and 2010, North Carolina’s very old (85+) population increased by nearly 40%. [6]
  • North Carolina ranked 10th nationally in the size of the total population, 9th in the size of population 60 and over, 9th in the size of population 65 and over, and 11th in the size of the population 85 and over, 2007‐2011. [7]
  • The North Carolina metropolitan areas of Raleigh-Cary and Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord were #1 and #10, respectively, in national rankings for fastest growth in the 65+ population between 2000 and 2010. [5]

Socioeconomic Data

  • The poverty rate among people 65 and over is higher for women compared to men in the state and increases significantly as people age. Among North Carolinians aged 75 and over, there were three times more women living in poverty than men. [1]
  • In 2011, 82% of North Carolinians 65 and over own their homes. [1]

Race & Gender

  • The median age of all minorities in North Carolina is projected to increase at a greater rate than for the general population, from 30.5 years in 2000 to 35 years in 2030. [8]
  • About 19% of older adults in NC are minorities. [1]
  • Older women outnumber older men in the state, representing 58% of the population 65 and over and 70% of the 85+ population.[2]
  • By 2009, life expectancy at birth in North Carolina had increased to 77.9 years. In general, women live longer than men within racial and ethnic groups. [9]


  • The five leading causes of death among North Carolinians age 65 and older during 2011 were, in order, heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Heart disease and cancer killed over twice as many elderly as the latter three conditions. [10]
  • In 2011, about 62% of people 65 and older did not have a disability. [1]
  • As of 2012 there was an estimated 170,000 older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. By 2030, the total number is projected to rise to nearly 300,000. [2]


  • From 2007-2011, nearly 32,000 grandparents over 60 reported being responsible for the care of one or more grandchildren under 18 years old. These grandparents are 56% white, 38% African American, 3% Hispanic/Latino, and 2% American Indian or Alaskan Native. [1]


  • According to the American Community Survey 2007-2011, 14.3% of people aged 65 and over were employed. [1]


1.North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Service. (2012). A Profile of People Age 60 and Over, North Carolina. Retrieved from  http://www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/demo.htm

2.North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services. (2012). Aging Statistics in North Carolina. Retrieved from  http://www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/demo.htm

3. North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Service. (2012). Population change in NC counties for age groups 0-17 and 60+ (2011-2025). Retrieved from  http://www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/demo.htm

4.North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management. (2010).  Projected County Totals: Standard Age Groups. Retrieved from  http://www.osbm.state.nc.us/demog/prsage.html

5.Brookings Institution. (2011).The Uneven Aging and “Younging” of America: State and Metropolitan Trends in the 2010 Census. Washington, D.C.: Frey. Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2011/06/28-census-age-frey

6.U.S. Administration on Aging. (2011). 2010 Census Data on Aging. Retrieved from http://aoa.gov/AoARoot/Aging_Statistics/Census_Population/census2010/Index.aspx

7.US Census Bureau. 2007‐2011 American Community Survey. Table B01001. Sex by Age.

8.NC Office of State Planning, State Demographics Unit. (2008). Past and Expected Trends.

9.North Carolina Study Commission on Aging (2011). Report to the Governor and the 2011 Regular Session of the 2011 General Assembly. http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/DocumentSites/browseDocSite.asp?nID=38&sFolderName=\Reports%20to%20the%20Governor%20and%20the%20General%20Assembly

10.NC State Center for Health Statistics. NC Vital Statistics Volume 2, Leading Causes of Death – 2011. TABLE A: Leading Causes of Death* by Age Group- North Carolina Residents, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.schs.state.nc.us/schs/deaths/lcd/2011/

updated September 2013