We avoid writing about national celebration months because there are so darn many of them.
From national Prune Breakfast Month in January to national Lasagna Awareness Month in July to National Toilet Tank Repair Month in September, there are more than 200 of the blasted things.
By the way, look that toilet thing up — it's real.
But we thought Older Americans Month, which begins today, merits a special mention, if for no other reason than the U.S. Census Bureau sent us some interesting statistics about our elders.
First among them, the Census Bureau does not consider Maine the eldest state in the country. That title goes to Florida, with 17.3 percent of residents over 65, West Virginia (16 percent) and then Maine (15.9 percent).
The other good news in the Census numbers: The living conditions for older Americans have been steadily improving since 1935 when Social Security was enacted.
Before that time, about half of all Americans over 65 lived in poverty. Today, it's about 9 percent.
According to AARP, more than 35 percent of seniors would fall below the poverty line without their Social Security check. In Maine, the number is slightly higher, 38 percent.
Social Security makes up 50 percent or more of the income for almost two-thirds of Maine residents, according to the AARP. One third of older Mainers have Social Security as their only source of income.
Unfortunately, as seniors have risen out of poverty, children have fallen in. While seniors and children had roughly equal poverty rates in 1980, children are now about 2.4 times more likely to live in poverty.
Since the start of the recession, household income has declined for all age groups of Americans except those over 65, according to the Census Bureau. Income for older Americans has increased by 5.5 since 2007.
The well-publicized longevity gap between men and women is slowly closing. There were 90.5 males per 100 females over 65 in 2010. That ratio was 88.1 men per 100 women in 2000 and 82.7 per 100 in 1990.
The pickings get slimmer for women in the over-85 age bracket, with 58.3 males per 100 females in 2010. But even that is far better than the 50.5 males per 100 in 2000 and 45.6 per 100 in 1990.
Meanwhile, the fastest-growing segment of the older population are those between 85 and 90.
And the single oldest county in America? That title goes to tiny Sumpter County in Florida, population 53,000, and home to one of the largest planned unit senior living projects in the nation, The Villages, with about 8,300 inhabitants.
Which points to a significant population trend that is not only changing the U.S. but the world.
Those over 65 were 13 percent of the total U.S. population in 2010. Older Americans will gradually increase to 20 percent of the population by 2050.
The percentage of the world's population 65 and older will jump from 8 percent today to 17 percent by 2050.
The economies of the U.S., Japan and Western Europe are already straining under the cost of providing income support and medical care to their older citizens.
The great choice going forward will be whether the nation chooses to sustain that level of support.
In the meantime, happy Older Americans Month.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.