Population

THE ESCALATING ELDERLY
Ninety has officially become the new 85. A recent report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, and supported by the National Institute on Aging, revealed that the nation’s 90-and-older population nearly tripled over the past three decades and is projected to more than quadruple over the next four decades. The 90-and-older population reached 1.9 million in 2010, and people 90 and older now comprise 4.7% of the older population (age 65 and older), compared with only 2.8% in 1980.

“Traditionally, the cutoff age for what is considered the ‘oldest old’ has been age 85,” Census Bureau demographer Wan He said in a statement. “But increasingly people are living longer, and the older population itself is getting older. Given its rapid growth, the 90-and-older population merits a closer look.”

A closer look reveals, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the majority of people 90 and older have one or more disabilities and the proportion of people age 90 to 94 with disabilities is more than 13 percentage points higher than that of 85- to 89-year-olds, according to 90+ in the United States: 2006-2008. Nearly all people in their 90s living in a nursing home had a disability, while a vast majority of those not living in a nursing home also had some kind of disability.

The good news for people in this demographic is that they are almost universally (99.5%) covered by health insurance, which is especially good considering they do not have a lot of disposable income. Their annual median income during 2006-2008 was $14,760 (in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars) with 47.9% coming from Social Security and another 18.3% from their retirement pension.

Maybe the elderly can also take solace in the fact that as they get older they are simultaneously making the old younger. —A.M.

TECH

Google Search Secrets POPULATION
Google makes hundreds of changes to their search algorithms each year, but recently the company slightly pulled back the curtain and gave outsiders an inside look. Last month, Google posted on their official blog (tinyurl.com/7wscntt) 10 recent algorithm changes, which, among other things, can affect how websites are ranked. For instance, one change involves prioritizing the most recent postings to offer users faster, more recent results, especially when searching current events or trending topics. The company also refined how it detects official websites, which will give these bona fide sites a higher ranking. Other changes include snippets composed with more page content and less header/menu content and better page titles for search results.

A Search Just For You
TrapIt opened to the public last month, giving people another option for searching the Web— but this time it’s personal. TrapIt is not a search engine like Google, where you enter a topic and get the most popular results. Instead, it is a personalized tool that prioritizes the results to fit your preferences. Just enter a term, which can be saved as a “trap,” and it will continuously collect new content on the subject as it is published. Over time, TrapIt will adapt to you, learning what type of content you like (based on what you click and what you give a thumbs-up) and provide similar content. Multiple traps can be saved to your profile, so you can keep track of everything you want from sources you will actually want to read. Sign up at trap.it.

Twitter Data for Sale
The recently launched startup DataSift offers businesses a place to go to extract value from all of the social data out there. DataSift is one of two exclusive re-syndicators of Twitter data (the other is Gnip), and it can filter the data into useful information such as demographics, online influence and sentiment, and positive and negative reactions. Visit datasift.com for more information about services and pricing. —Andrew Matthius

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