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What You Need to Know

  • The bureau believes the number of newborns fell 3.6%, to fewer than 3.6 million.
  • The most common age is 31.
  • Data collection improvements might have affected the population estimates for 99-year-olds.

Current population trends might make it easier to find insurance and retirement planning clients who are already 65 or older than to find near-retiree clients.

New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of young retirees, or U.S. residents ages 65 through 74, increased 3.3% between 2020 and 2021, to 34 million.

The number of near retirees, or people ages 55 through 64, was bigger — 43 million — but it fell 0.6%, year over year.

The Census Bureau on Thursday published the latest annual estimates of the the resident population, by single year of age.A population pyramid, with a small triangle of Greatest Generation and Silent Generation people at the top, a big bulge of baby boomers, a narrow waist of Generation Xers, big hips made up of millennials, and a somewhat narrower bottom made up of Generation Alpha people. (Image: Census Bureau)

The estimates reflect the effects of births, immigration, emigration and the impact of health conditions such as COVID-19 and opioid use.

The estimates also reflect changes in data collection efforts and analysis methods.

The new table shows, for example, that the number of 99-year-olds fell 8.9%, to 52,579, and that the number of people ages 100 and older fell 2.3%, to 97,914. Those decreases reflect improvements in efforts to track deaths as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most common age was 31: The number of U.S. residents that age increased 2.9% last year, to 4.75 million.

The total number of people ages 85 and older dropped 0.7%, to 6 million.

The New Baby Bust

The new Census Bureau table confirms that financial services companies and professionals face a serious, persistent obstacle to adding younger clients: a decrease in the number of births.

Many financial services marketers, and especially marketers of life insurance and retirement planning arrangements aimed at younger workers, try to appeal to consumers who have undergone major life events, such as the birth of a child.

But the new Census Bureau table indicates that the number of babies under age 1 was down sharply in 2021, and has been falling for six years in a row.

The bureau estimated that the United States had only 3.6 million infants last year.

The number of infants in the country fell 3.6% between 2020 and 2021, and the number of infants was 13% lower than the number of 6-year-olds.

The figures suggest that any given marketing campaign tied to the births faced 13% more difficulty with generating leads in 2021 than in 2015.

The United States also faced sharp baby busts from 1927 through 1945, when members of the “Silent Generation” were born, and from 1965 through 1981, when members of Generation X arrived. Improvements in life expectancy and immigration ended up offsetting some of the effects of birth rate fluctuations.

Pictured: (Image: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)


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