"Welcome to the website of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Since 1974, the NIA -- one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the NIH -- has been at the forefront of the Nation's research activities dedicated to understanding the nature of aging, supporting the health and well being of older adults, and extending healthy, active years of life for more people.
Data from the Census Bureau tell us that in 2015, there are around 47.8 million Americans age 65 and older, up from about 25.5 million just 35 years ago; demographers predict that in another 35 years, there will be nearly 88 million Americans in this age group. The rate of growth of the “oldest old” population—those age 85 and older—is even more dramatic: Their numbers currently stand at approximately 6.3 million, but by 2050, that number will have almost tripled, to 18.7 million Americans. This population explosion is unprecedented in history, and the resulting demographic shift is causing profound social and economic changes.
At NIA, our mission is to discover what may contribute to a healthy old age as well as to understand and address the disease and disability sometimes associated with growing older. In pursuit of these goals, our research program covers a broad range of areas, from the study of basic cellular changes that occur with age to the examination of the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of age-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
I invite you to explore our website and to learn more about the ground-breaking work of NIA researchers and the international community of scientists engaged in aging research. Take a look at some of the ways we are collaborating across the Institute and NIH on initiatives of special interest. For the general public and health professionals, we offer consumer-oriented information on a wide range of topics important to older people and their families. Scientists will find detailed information on areas of research interest and funding opportunities. If you're new to the NIA, our Strategic Directions document -- a road map for progress in aging research -- is a great place to start.