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Letter from Lennie-Marie P. Tolliver to Joshua Lederberg



Q r*5t*“‘~ES “~, *’ ; DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH &HUMAN SERVICES 5 % ‘i % 4 ‘I %m Administration on Aging Office of Human Development Services Office of Assistant Secretary Washington DC 20201 Joshua Lederberg, Ph.D. President The Rockefeller University 1230 York Avenue New York, New York 10021 4-81984 Dear Dr. Lederberg: Thank you for your letter and your enclosed remarks from the convocation at Hahnemann University. I read both with much appreciation for your knowledge and interest in aging. Your request for information regarding the demographics of aging, the health of older people and projections for the future is most appropriate and relevant to your overall thesis regarding the full impact of biotechnology on the human condition. According to available data it is estimated that the decade of the eighties will witness an increase in the numbers of Americans 65 years and older from 25 million to 30 million people. This growth on the older population reflects a trend occurring over the last 30 years and one that will continue for the next 45 years. In absolute numbers there were 12 million Americans 65 and over in 1950, 25 million in 1980 and there will be 55 million in 2030. Even more startling are the projections for the increase in the "old-old" population. There are presently 8 million people over the age of 75 or about l/3 of the older population and 2 l/2 million people 85 years and older. By the year 2030 25% of all Americans will be over 65. Although the majority of people age 65 and over view their health as good, compared to others of their own age, about 3 l/2 million older people living in the community need the help of another person in carrying out everyday activities. However, the rate of those needing help in at least one basic physical activity is substantially higher among people in the older age categories. For example about 20.6 per 1,000 people 45-64 years of age need help compared with the rate of 52.6 pe

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