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The University of Alabama

UA’s State Data Center Offers Look at Seniors for ‘Older Americans Month’

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Quickly. Which three Alabama counties have the highest percentage of senior citizens?

If you picked Covington, Cherokee and Marion, you win the prize.

Annette Watters, director of the State Data Center at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce, dug through information from the U.S. Census Bureau and came up with some interesting facts about Alabama’s senior citizens.

Watters said the observance of May as Older Americans Month goes back to 1963. After a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens, President John F. Kennedy designated May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month, encouraging the nation to pay tribute in some way to older people across the country.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation changed the name to Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate those 65 and older through ceremonies, events and public recognition.

Here are some other tidbits about older Americans in Alabama.


The county in Alabama with the largest 65-plus population. In 2009, 90,240 people in Jefferson County were 65 years old and older.

[Source:  Population Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau]

Covington, Cherokee, and Marion

The counties in Alabama with the greatest percent of seniors. In 2009, nearly 19 percent of all the people living in each of these three counties were 65 years old or older.

[Source:  Population Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau]


The county with the fewest seniors. Greene County is also the county with smallest total population. In 2009, there were only 1,360 people in Greene County who were 65 years old or older.

[Source:  Population Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau]


The home of Auburn University is the county with the smallest proportion of seniors. People 65 and older made up only 9 percent of Lee County’s population in 2009. That 9 percent represents nearly 12,000 people because Lee County’s total population was about 135,900 in 2009.

[Source:  Population Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau]


The projected number of people aged 65-plus in Alabama in the year 2020.

[Source:  Center for Business and Economic Research, The University of Alabama]


The number of people age 65-plus in Alabama in 2009. That’s nearly an 11 percent increase over the 2000 census figure.

[Source:  Population Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau]


The increase in the over-65 population in Alabama over the past 9 years. The 2000 census recorded 579,800 people in Alabama who were 65 or older. The data from the 2010 census aren’t available yet.

[Source:  2000 Census of Population, and Population Estimates, U.S. Census Bureau]

10 percent

The percentage of all people in Alabama living below the poverty line who are 65 years old or older.That is, 90 percent of the poor people in the state are younger than 65.

[Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey]


The number of people who are 60 or older who are raising their own grandchildren who are under the age of 18; 7,970 of these grandparents are men, 11,430 of them are women.

[Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey]


The number of grandparents in Alabama who live in the same household with their grandkids, but the grandparents are not responsible for raising the grandkids.

[Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey]

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.