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Parameters for Aging Forum Publications, Products, and Activities

Older Americans Chartbook

Selection Criteria for Regular Indicators

Regular indicators must meet the following criteria to be included in the Chartbook:

  • Easy to understand by a wide range of audiences.
  • Based on reliable, nationwide data sponsored, collected, or disseminated by the Federal government.
  • Objectively based on substantial research that connects the indicator to the well-being of older Americans.
  • Balanced so that no single section dominates the report.
  • Measured periodically (but not necessarily annually) so that they can be updated, making possible, description of trends over time.
  • Representative of large segments of the aging population, rather than one particular group.

Structure for Regular Indicators

Each indicator will include:

  • An introductory paragraph describing the relevance of the indicator to the well-being of the older population in the United States.
  • One or more figures that illustrate important aspects of the data in a key measure.
  • Bulleted data Highlights

In addition, the indicator will be supplemented by the following in the back matter:

  • Tables that present the data used on the indicator page(s).
  • Data source descriptions.
  • Glossary entries (if applicable).

Detailed Parameters for Regular Indicator Content

Introductory Paragraph

The text in the introductory paragraph should be limited to a few sentences and should discuss the background of the indicator measure, its significance for the well-being of older Americans, a reference to the particular indicator being presented, the breakouts chosen for the figure, and answer the question, “Why should I read this?” Citations should be used sparingly and only to cite information necessary to include to provide context for the reader.


All indicators will include one figure that highlights the key measure of the indicator. An indicator may include two (or more) figures only when it is agreed that more than one figure is required to more fully explain the key measure or its context as a measure of well-being. Data in figures must be included in indicator table(s).


Indicator bullets should be kept relatively short so that the introductory paragraph, figure(s), and bullets can all fit on one page (perhaps two pages or more if the indicator includes more than one figure).

Indicator bullets must adhere to the following parameters:

  • Bullets should address most of the key indicator findings shown in the tables.
  • Bullets should not introduce a new indicator.
    • Example: If an indicator measures poverty, bullets that report on extreme poverty would be introducing a different indicator.
  • All estimates referred to in the bullets must be found in the tables.
  • If the figure shows trends, bullets should report on the trends shown for each of the population groups shown in the figure or, if appropriate, summarize the findings across the population groups.
  • The first bullet should refer to the most recent year of data; the next bullet(s) to the data trends over time, if trends are shown; the following bullets to any estimates or trends for subgroups shown in the figure(s); and the remaining bullets, if any, should be arranged in order of importance.
  • Although not encouraged, in addition to estimates shown in the figure, bullets can include estimates for agreed-upon demographic breakouts [age, race/ethnicity, sex, poverty, educational attainment, or geography (region or urban status)], if doing so enhances the key measure shown in the figure. Bullets covering estimates shown in the figure must be exhausted first before bullets can be added covering other demographic breakouts in the tables.
    • Example: If the figure shows trends in the percentage of older Americans with obesity by race/ethnicity the bullets would report on the most recent year of data, then on the trends over time, followed by estimates and trends for the race/ethnicity groups before other demographic breakouts included in the table, but not in the figure, would be discussed.
  • Comparisons of estimates discussed in the text will be statistically significant unless noted otherwise. The agency providing the data will assure appropriate testing has been conducted to verify a true difference between discussed estimates.
  • Bullets cannot include citations referencing data or other sources outside the report.


Data tables must include all data shown in the figures and bullets for the indicator. All data tables must be associated with at least one figure and one accompanying bullets. Tables must include all estimates reported in the bullets or shown in the figure. Tables can include agreed upon demographic breakouts (see section on bullets) not shown in the figure but cannot introduce a new indicator.

  • Language used to describe breakout groups will be consistent across an indicator’s text, figures, and tables. For example, if referring to White, non-Hispanic females in the text, then the exact reference should be found in the table. Just listing the category, White, is insufficient.

Older Americans Special Features

  • Maintains the same statistical rigor as regular indicators of the Older Americans report.
  • Allows use of data sources that may not have the periodicity of regular and routine data sets found in the Older Americans report.

Alternative Year Reports, Other Forum Products and Activities (i.e., infographics, workshops)

  • TBD