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The United States of Aging Survey – 2012


According to this 2012 survey among “seniors” in America, close to 70 percent say that this past year has been “normal or close to normal.” UnitedHealthcare, USA Today, the National Council on Aging, and WPBT, a PBS affiliate, conducted a survey among 2,250 Americans ages 60 and older in mid-2012. Overall, most seniors report good health, and envision maintaining that health for years to come. However, not all the news is good; many seniors are not sure their communities are ready to meet their needs as they grow older.

Key Points

The overall snapshot of today’s seniors, defined here as people 60 and older, is positive. Yet, there are some issues that community planners should be aware of. First, while 50 percent of seniors think their community helps them live a happy and healthy life, another 42 percent of seniors think their community has little bearing on helping or hindering them. Less than one-third strongly agree that there is a high-quality public transportation service in their community.

Key survey findings:

  1. Nine out of ten seniors report that they want to live in their current homes as they grow older, and 85 percent are confident they can do so without having to make significant modifications to it.
  2. A surprising number, 30 percent, of 65-69 year olds report that they are working    full- or part-time. Their motivation is less about money (60    percent) and more about “staying active and engaged” (84 percent). Almost half of boomers surveyed do not believe their communities offer job opportunities for people their age (page 16).
  3. One in four seniors have difficulty paying monthly living expenses, and nearly an equal number of seniors are not confident in their long-term prospects for money – especially when it comes to covering healthcare expenses.

How to Use

This survey offers a good topline snapshot of the current mindset of younger seniors. The oldest adults of the senior segment are not likely to be represented by the results of this phone survey. In any event, understanding seniors’ perceptions, opinions and thoughts regarding financial and physical well-being, community accessibility, job opportunities, and other such issues can help community planners prioritize initiatives to accommodate the changing needs of seniors in their communities.

A low income report is available, as well as regional versions.

View full report: The United States of Aging Survey – 2012 (PDF – 1.9 MB)

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