In a report based on various sources of demographic data, the bureau said there were 41.4 million people age 65 or older in the United States in July 2011, up from 40.3 million in April 2010. The number of seniors is projected to reach 92 million by 2060, with 18.2 million age 85 or older.
Surviving baby boomers will number 2.4 million by 2060, with the youngest among them age 96.
The median income for households with householders age 65 and older was $33,118 in 2011, essentially unchanged from 2010 -- while 8.7 percent of seniors lived in poverty in 2011, also statistically unchanged from 2010.
People age 65 and older accounted for 16.1 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2010, or 6.5 million workers, up from 12.1 percent, or 3.8 million workers, in 1990.
The 2010 census counted 53,364 people who were 100 years old and older, with 100 centenarian women for every 20.7 centenarian men.
The report said the number of people in the United States age 65 and older will exceed the number of people age 18 and younger for the first time in 2056.
In releasing the report, the Census Bureau noted that 2013 will be the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's designation of May as Senior Citizens Month, intended to encourage Americans to honor elders. President Jimmy Carter changed the name to Older Americans Month in 1980.