NPR: '90 Is The New 85' As Oldest Of Old Crowd Flourishes

I love this story.

Just look at 92-year-old Pete Seeger as he stands in solidarity with the kids of Occupy Wall Street leading them singing "The River That Flows."

And there's Betty White (she's on the NPR story, not part of the protest march) nearly 90, and her perky, lipsticked smile. "90 is the new 85," NPR reports, with the oldest of the old set rapidly expanding.

"From 720,000 in the year 1980 to more than 1.9 million in 2010, the number of Americans who are 90 years of age or older has nearly tripled, the Census Bureau reports today in its first comprehensive look at the over-90 population.

And according to the Census Bureau, "over the next four decades, this population is projected to more than quadruple.

The trend has researchers wondering whether the definition of the "oldest old" — generally, those 85 and older — should be reconsidered and start the group at 90 instead."

This program aired on November 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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