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date: 03 December 2022

Life Span: Oldest-Old and Advanced Old Age (After the Age 85)locked

Life Span: Oldest-Old and Advanced Old Age (After the Age 85)locked

  • Judith G. GonyeaJudith G. GonyeaProfessor and Chair, Social Research Department, Boston University School of Social Work


As a result of rising life expectancies, America’s older population is itself aging. The U.S. Census Bureau projections suggest that, by the middle of the 21st century, more than 40% of Americans aged 65 and older can expect to live to at least the age of 90. Although the oldest-old (often defined as persons ages 80 and older or those ages 85-plus) is a diverse population, advanced old age is associated with a greater risk of experiencing economic hardship, disabling illnesses or health conditions, and social isolation. A growing public policy challenge will be ensuring the economic well-being, the health, and the dignity of society’s very oldest citizens.


  • Aging and Older Adults
  • Couples and Families
  • Disabilities
  • Health Care and Illness
  • Populations and Practice Settings

Updated in this version

Language, references, and statistics updated to reflect recent research.

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