That’s how many U.S. residents were at least 65 years old on July 1, 2011, according to Census Bureau estimates released last week.
That age group accounted for 13.3 percent of the national population of 311.6 million, up from 13.0 percent of 308.7 million people, or 40.3 million, in the 2010 Census 15 months earlier. The 2000 Census said that 35 million out of 281.4 million people, or 12.4 percent, were at least 65 years old.
Political campaigns analyze Census data in part because elderly voters have higher voter turnout rates than other age groups. In the 2008 election, 65-and-older voters accounted for 16 percent of the electorate, backing Republican Senator John McCain over President Barack Obama by 53 percent to 45 percent, according to an exit poll. That age group accounted for 16 percent of voters in the 2004 election, which then-President George W. Bush won over Democratic challenger John Kerry.
In other Census-related news, Bloomberg’s Frank Bass reports about non-white babies outnumbering white babies in 2011 for the first time in U.S. history. “The trend is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the country’s political alignment, the nature of its workforce and on its economic future,” he writes. Betty Liu also reported on the story for Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.”