More than one in five hospital patients in 2008 were born in 1933 or earlier

Research Activities, February 2011, No. 366

Twenty-two percent of all admissions to U.S. hospitals in 2008 were for patients born the year that Franklin D. Roosevelt was first inaugurated president of the United States or earlier, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Those who ranged in age from 75 to 84 years accounted for almost 14 percent of the 40 million admissions to U.S. hospitals that year, while patients aged 85 and over made up another 8 percent. Together these most senior of America's seniors accounted for 8.7 million hospital admissions in 2008 compared with the 5.3 million admissions of relatively younger seniors—those between 65 and 74 years of age.

The Federal agency also found that in U.S. hospitals in 2008:

  • Treating patients aged 75 and older cost hospitals more than $92 billion, compared with $65 billion for patients aged 65 to 74.
  • People aged 85 and older were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as 65- to 74-year olds (577 vs. 264 stays per 1,000 people). They were also nearly three times more likely to require a nursing home or other type of long-term care after leaving the hospital.
  • Congestive heart failure was the number one reason for hospitalizing people aged 85 and older—44 stays per 1,000 people. Other leading reasons were pneumonia, blood poisoning, urinary tract infections, and heart rhythm disorders—36, 27, 24, and 23 stays per 1,000 people, respectively.
  • For 75- to 84-year olds, the top five reasons for hospitalization per 1,000 people were: congestive heart failure (23 stays); pneumonia (20 stays); heart rhythm disorders (17 stays); blood poisoning (16 stays); and osteoarthritis (15 stays).

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Hospital Utilization among Oldest Adults, 2008 (available at The report uses data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information, contact Bob Isquith at or (301) 427-1539.

Current as of February 2011
Internet Citation: More than one in five hospital patients in 2008 were born in 1933 or earlier: Research Activities, February 2011, No. 366. February 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.