Facts and Statistics on the Senior Citizen Population in Arkansas


Arkansas is the 34th most populous state in the U.S., with a population of just over three million people. Of these three million people, a little over one million are aged 50 and older meaning that more than a third (35.8%, to be exact) of the population is older than 50. The median age in Arkansas is 38 (half of the population is older and the other half is younger. This may seem like a pretty high median age, but the median age for the entire U.S. is the same.

Nicknamed “The Natural State”, Arkansas’s senior citizen statistics are pretty comparable to the U.S. as a whole, but there are some differences that should be noted. One is that the life expectancy is lower in Arkansas (76) than it is for the entire U.S. (78.5). Here are more facts and statistics on the senior population in Arkansas.


As mentioned above, Arkansas’s life expectancy is lower than that of the U.S. as a whole. In fact, Arkansas is ranked as the fifth state in the U.S. in terms of lowest life expectancy, after Kentucky, Alabama, West Virginia, and Mississippi. According to the CDC, the top 10 leading causes of death in Arkansas include:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. COVID-19
  4. Chronic respiratory diseases
  5. Accidents
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Stroke
  8. Diabetes
  9. Kidney disease
  10. Pneumonia and the flu

This is comparable to the U.S. as a whole (the top three are the same), but chronic respiratory diseases and kidney disease affect residents of Arkansas more than they affect the rest of the country combined. Also, the majority of these diseases and illnesses overwhelmingly affect the older population more. Many of these diseases are considered to be “age-related diseases” because they are more likely to develop as we age.


Nearly 30% of Arkansas residents over the age of 55 are still working and not retired. Of those over the age of 60, slightly more than 40% receive retirement income. The average retirement income is $22,559, while the average SSI (social security income) is $9,481. Overall, the median income of those over the age of 65 is only $35,966.

Looking at these statistics, it’s not hard to see why many people continue to work past retirement age. Some of the most common jobs in Arkansas include truck driving and (registered) nursing, who make an annual average of $66,016 and $48,000, respectively.

Living Options

Living arrangements are also a valid concern among seniors in Arkansas, and all over the U.S. Ideally, most seniors would remain living in their own homes, as doing so safely and comfortably increases their quality of life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for a lot of seniors in Arkansas, as the many health problems afflicting them require them to live in some type of assisted living facility. Here’s a look at some of the assisted living options for seniors in Arkansas.

Retirement Homes

Also known as senior living communities, retirement homes allow residents to live independently, but they can also receive some assistance if needed. This type of home is ideal for seniors who may not be able to safely age in place in their own homes, or maybe they just want to be around other seniors. Senior living in Arkansas starts at about $1,779 per month.

Moving in with Family

Some Arkansas seniors may choose to move in with their children or other family members to be closer to their loved ones. Seniors may also move in with family to be taken care of, as opposed to going into an assisted living facility. This can be a great option for a lot of families, but caregivers are at risk for burnout when caring for an aging family member. Fortunately, Arkansas offers adult day care centers and respite care to help take some of the stress off caregivers.

Nursing Homes

Like all states in the U.S., Arkansas has nursing homes for those who need constant care. The average cost of nursing home care in the state is close to $6,000 per month, and the higher-quality facilities are more. Unfortunately, many seniors are victims of nursing home abuse in Arkansas and all over the country.

It’s important to study the senior population in Arkansas and the entire U.S. because it’s likely that the population is going to increase in the future. Although the life expectancy has dropped under the age of 80, fewer people are having children. Because of this, the aging population will remain larger than the younger population, so it’s necessary to look at the current facts and statistics on senior citizens.