America Ages

More than 80 percent of the growth in households in the next five years will be among those headed by someone age 55 or older. Newly forming households headed by someone age 25–34 will account for most of the rest. Little or no growth—or even a slight decline—is expected in the number of households in the highest-spending demographic, age 35–54. (U.S. head of household average age is 49.5 years.)

But there’s good news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that households headed by someone age 55–64 increased spending at almost twice the rate of all households (60 percent vs. 32 percent). One reason was the jump in the number of households in that age bracket; the other was a rise in income. The average household headed by someone age 55–64 had $10,600 more to spend in 2007 than the average household in that group five years earlier.

A word of caution: They may be spending more on services than products as they age.

Percent of population age 18–64, as of July 2007 63

Percent of population over age 65 13

SOURCE: ADVERTISING AGE/AMERICAN DEMOGRAPHICS AND U.S. CENSUS BUREAU