Today marks 31 years since President Ronald Reagan signed a federal proclamation on August 21, 1988 declaring every August 21st as National Senior Citizens Day. Reagan stated,
“For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older—places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”
Who is a senior? If you asked a dozen people you would likely get a ½ dozen different responses, and rightfully so, as it’s not clearly defined any place.
AMAC has traditionally defined itself (meaning mature Americans) as the voice of Americans 50+. Many establishments begin offering “senior discounts” at age 55. Others start discounts at age 60 or even 62. Lastly, the federal government defines senior citizens as age 65 or older.
Whatever the age, here are a few interesting statistics on this politically involved and growing segment of the American population:
- 50.9 million people are age 65 or older, 15.6 percent of the U.S. population
- 92.9 million people are age 55 or older
- $1,672 is the average annual amount given to charities in the U.S. by those 65 and older
- 71.4% of registered voters age 60 and older turned out to vote in the 2016 presidential election, the highest percentage of any age group
- 61% of U.S. jobs are supported by those age 50 and older
- $5.6 trillion is spent annually, including health care, by those age 50 and older
- 2035 is the year that those age 65 and older will outnumber those under age 18—78 million senior citizens to 76.4 million kids
Sources: 2017 U.S. Census data, 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Elections Report
Whatever age one chooses to be designated a “senior”, chances are you would agree with the statements, “70 is the new 60” and “60 is the new 50”. Being a senior citizen or older American, or mature American is in many ways a mindset.
All of us at AMAC want to take this opportunity to thank our mature Americans for their achievements and wish them a heartfelt Happy Birthday!
Jeff Szymanski works in political communications for the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), a senior benefits organization with nearly 2 million members.