Arkansas Department of Human Services

Division of Aging and Adult Services
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Profile of Older Arkansans

In 2000, Arkansas’ elderly population was 491,409. Arkansas’s minority elderly population was 56,474, which was 11 percent of the entire elderly population.

Also according to US Bureau of the Census statistics, the proportion of Arkansas’ elderly population below poverty level was 23 percent, and the proportion of Arkansas’ minority elderly population below poverty level was 36 percent.

The number of elderly Arkansans below poverty level in 2000 was 113,153; and 24 percent of elderly Arkansans below poverty level were members of minority groups.

In 1999, there were 475,300 Arkansans were 60 or older. This represented 18.7% of the population and was the sixth highest percentage in the country. 

There were 135 older women to every 100 older men in Arkansas. 

The older population is getting older. In 1993, the 65-74 age group (196,885) was 3-3/4 times larger than in 1930, but the 75-84 age group (118,224) was 6 times larger and the 85+ age group (34,707) was almost 10 times larger. 

The growth of the older population is slowing somewhat in the 1990s due to the birth of fewer babies during the Great Depression. The most rapid growth is expected to occur between 2010 and 2030 when the "baby boom" generation reaches 65. The elderly population will more than double between now and the year 2050. 

In 1990, 59.6% of older Arkansans were married. Older men were much more likely to be married (79.3% of men, 45.3% of women). 

In 1990, 26.5% of all older Arkansans lived alone. The percentage increased with age; from 23.7% of the 65-74 age group to 37.4% of the 75 or older group. 

In 1990, 4.3% of Arkansans 60 or older lived in nursing homes. The percentage increased dramatically with age, ranging from 0.7% for persons 60-64 to 10.3% for persons 75 or older and 21.8% for persons 85 or older. 

In 1990, 87.8% of older Arkansans were White, 11.6% were Black and less than 0.5% were other races. The proportion of elderly non-white population has declined since 1940. 

32.8% of older Arkansans live in six counties -- Pulaski (10.7%), Benton, Garland, Sebastian, Washington, and Jefferson. 

In 1990, 15.8% of older Arkansans were working or actively seeking work, including 21.5% of the males and 11.6% of the females. 

The poverty rate for persons 60 or older was 21.2% in 1989. Another 8.9% were classified as "near poor", having incomes between poverty level and 125% of poverty level. The rate of poverty for all ages in Arkansas was 16.7%. 

Sixteen counties had poverty rates for older persons in 1989 above 30%. 

17.8% of elderly Whites and 47.2% of elderly Blacks were below poverty level in 1989. 

Older Arkansans living alone or with nonrelatives were more likely to be poor (42.2%) than those living in families (12.5%). 

Statistical Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation “State Health Facts Online”
DHS Division of Aging and Adult Services | P.O. Box 1437 - Slot S-530 | Little Rock, AR 72203-1437 | 501.682.2441 | eMail
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