San Francisco Bay Area 1999

These statistics from the San Francisco Chronicle are obviously higher in terms of income than the average U.S. but might provide some ratios useful for other areas.

Highest level of education

Pre Boomers Generation X Boomers
Didn't graduate from high school 11.6% 16.2% 8.3%
High School graduate 32 25.1 20.8
Attended some college 30.6 35.2 35.3
Have 4 year degree 11.6 14.2 19
Some post graduate work 14.3 9.3 16.6

Length of Time in Residence

Pre Boomers Generation X Boomers
Less than 1 year 3.5% 24% 11.3%
1- 5 years 16.4 48.5 33.6
5- 10 years 11.1 11.3 22.6
Over 10 years 68.9 16.2 32.5

Household Income

Pre Boomers Generation X Boomers
Under $20,000 11.0% 11.9% 6.6%
20- 34,999 22.6 21.8 16.5
35- 49,999 26.1 20.4 17.2
50- 74,999 15.6 23 21.4
75- 99,999 10.2 12.8 18.5
100- 149,000 9.2 6.4 12.6
150,000+ 5.3 3.6 7.3

Total Household Value

Pre Boomers Generation X Boomers
Under $10,000 16.6% 41.3% 23.8%
10- 24,999 8.6 17.4 14.5
25- 49,999 9 11.9 11.5
50- 99,999 11.6 11.4 15.5
100- 249,000 17.5 4.7 15.9
249- 499,999 15.5 4.1 6
500,000+ 18.9 4.1 8.4

INCOME: (1999) The Census Bureau's analysis of household income from 1969-1996 shows a 57% rise in real median income for married couples over age 65 compared to a 6.3% increase for all households. Incomes for single men and women over age 65 rose 63%. The elderly are now the least likely segment of the population to be poor. Their article noted that "At age 65... many are coming off peak earning years, still live in a home they own, enjoy relatively good health and are sitting on a nest egg. But a decade later, women have lost their husbands, are beginning to suffer from more expensive, debilitating health problems, and are working their way through savings."

Income Gap Between Elderly and Non-Elderly Households Narrows:  2001 (pdf) Although remaining concentrated in lower income groups, elderly households achieved significantly greater equality of income distribution between 1967 and 1997; the gap with the income distribution of non-elderly households narrowed. Nonetheless, income inequality among older households persists despite more than 30 years of growth of income transfer programs designed to reduce poverty and improve the economic status of elderly persons.

Allstate "Retirement Reality Check":  (2002) Rising healthcare costs and a faltering economy have, in just one year, nearly doubled Baby Boomers retirement concerns. Yet a glance at their savings and financial planning habits indicates that this worry has not persuaded them to take action. In one of the 2002 study's most compelling findings, 52 percent of the Baby Boomers surveyed acknowledge worries about having sufficient retirement funds -- up from 29 percent who expressed this concern in 2001. Worries about healthcare costs rose from 39 percent to 67 percent in the same time period. And when it comes to fears about retirement, female Boomers are more worried about not having enough money (55 percent vs. 48 percent of males), Social Security disappearing (54 percent vs. 40 percent of males), and getting sick (52 percent vs. 45 percent of males).

In addition, average retirement savings also declined from nearly $120,000 in 2001 to $93,000 in 2002.

The difference between the money consumers will have and the money they'll need for retirement is called the retirement income gap. Financial experts say you'll need about 75% of your current income if you want to live your retirement years in a way that's similar to how you live now. But Social Security and pensions will most likely fall short of providing that level of income. And the experts say that the rest is up to the individual.

Seventy-four percent of surveyed Baby Boomers say they are financially prepared for retirement. Although the majority of surveyed Baby Boomers are confident they know how much money they will need for retirement, 59 percent of those surveyed expect to carry some form of debt into retirement, whether it is a mortgage (27 percent), car payments (36 percent), or credit card balances (28 percent). -- And of the surveyed Baby Boomers who have not yet saved for retirement, 64 percent say that they cannot afford to save for retirement at this time, with 53 percent planning to start saving at a later date.

Boomers operate without financial roadmaps - Two out of three (66 percent) survey respondents feel they have enough knowledge to make appropriate financial decisions on their own. -- Reality Check: 62 percent of surveyed Boomers report that choosing the right kind of investment is a challenge. -- Over one-third (34%) of those surveyed believe that financial institutions are not interested in having them as clients. This was especially true for Hispanic Baby Boomers (44%). -- And of the 56 percent of survey respondents not working with a financial advisor or broker, one-third (33 percent) believe they would benefit from professional advice, especially given the state of the economy. -- The survey also indicated ethnic differences. Of the 58 percent of surveyed African American Baby Boomers that do not currently work with a professional financial advisor, 49 percent feel that they may benefit from the guidance a financial professional could offer. While over a third (34 percent) of surveyed Boomers believe that financial institutions aren't interested in them, this notion is especially prominent among Hispanic Baby Boomers, with 44 percent of respondents believing this to be true.

Baby Boomers: The first Baby Boomer will turn 65 in 2011. Starting in 2011 and continuing through 2025, annual percentage increases in the older (age 65 and over) population will outstrip increases in the general population by three to four times.

Marital Status and Living Arrangements: Among the population 65-to-74 years old, 77% of men and 53% of women live with their spouses. Among the population 75 years and over, 67% of men and only 29% of women live with their spouses. Of the women, 49% live alone and 22% are not currently married but live with relatives or nonrelatives. Only 21% of men live alone at this age.

Education: 70% of people 65 and over have completed high school. 17% have a bachelor's degree or more education.

World Ranking: The United States ranks second among nations of the world in number of people 80 and over. (China ranks first.) Although the United States contains less than 5% of the world's population, it has 13% of its people 80 and over.

Sex Ratio: There were 70 men age 65 and over on July 1, 2001, for every 100 women in this age group.

This ratio drops from 83 for those in the 65 to 74 age group to 42 for those 85 and over.

Income: 49% of married-couple families with a householder age 65 and over who had an income of $35,000 or more.

Poverty: 10.1% of people 65 and over are below the poverty line.

Population: There are 35.3 million people 65 and over in the United States. That is 12% of the total population. In the first 15 months after Census 2000, 300,000 people moved into this age group.

Centenarians: There were an estimated 48,400 centenarians in the United States on July 1, 2001.

Population Distribution: The number of people age 65 and over has increased 10-fold during the 20th century. The 85 and over population increased more than 30-fold over the century. The entire U.S. population, in the meantime, more than tripled.

Foreign Born: 3.1 million people age 65 and over are foreign-born. Almost two-thirds of them have lived in the United States for more than 30 years. 70% of the older foreign-born population are naturalized citizens, almost twice the proportion as the citizenship rate for the entire foreign-born population.