New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show this potential market for financial advisors has grown fast -- and has gotten richer.

We know the facts driving this trend are that the baby boomers are getting older and people are living longer, but it certainly surprised me just how fast the 55-plus group has grown in a little over a decade: In 2012, the number of people 55 and over ballooned by 23.5 million to 79.5 million, or 25.7 percent of the U.S. population, according to census bureau figures released this month. In 2000, the number in that age range was only 20.4 percent of the population. Another way to look at it: The actual number in the 55-plus crowd is up 42 percent in just 12 years.

The census bureau notes that the U.S. population is continuing to grow older and the median age in many states is now more than 40 years old. In particular, the number of men at older ages is apparent, the bureau adds.

A greater percentage of people in this age group also have more money. It's hard to do a precise comparison because the bureau doesn't adjust the range of total money income for inflation, but here's a sense of how things have changed from 1998 to 2011, the most recent year for when this stat is available:

In 1998, 15.8 percent, or 5.6 million, of 55-plus households had total money income of $75,000 or more. A Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation calculator shows that $75,000 in 1998 had the same buying power as $103,500 in 2011. In 2011, 17.4 percent, or 8.7 million, of 55-plus households, had total money income of $100,000 or more.

Those figures seem to bode well for the financial advisory business, particularly with more and more people responsible for managing their own retirement investments.

One last stat: Although still a relatively small percentage (about 1 percent) of the total U.S. population, the number of people 85 and older grew at an even faster clip. From 2000 to 2012, the number in that range grew about 60 percent, from 3.1 million to 5 million. Just wait till the baby boomers get there.