We are a leader in the development and sale of fixed index and fixed rate annuity products. We were incorporated in the state of Iowa on December 15, 1995. We issue fixed annuity products through our wholly-owned life insurance subsidiaries, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company ("American Equity Life"), American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company of New York and Eagle Life Insurance Company ("Eagle Life"). We have one business segment which represents our core business comprised of the sale of fixed index and fixed rate annuities. Our business strategy is focused on growing our policyholder funds and earning predictable returns by managing investment spreads and investment risk. We are licensed to sell our products in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Throughout this report, unless otherwise specified or the context otherwise requires, all references to "American Equity", the "Company", "we", "our" and similar references are to American Equity Investment Life Holding Company and its consolidated subsidiaries.
Our target market includes the group of individuals ages 45-75 who are seeking to accumulate tax-deferred savings or create guaranteed lifetime income. We believe that significant growth opportunities exist for annuity products because of favorable demographic and economic trends. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were approximately 39 million Americans age 65 and older in 2010, representing 13% of the U.S. population and this group has grown to 49.2 million in 2016. By 2030, this sector of the population is expected to increase to 20% of the total population. Our fixed index and fixed rate annuity products are particularly attractive to this group due to their principal protection, competitive rates of credited interest, tax-deferred growth, guaranteed lifetime income and alternative payout options. Our competitive fixed index and fixed rate annuity products have enabled us to enjoy favorable growth in recent years and since our formation.
According to Wink's Sales and Market Report published by Wink, Inc., total industry sales of fixed index annuities increased 22% to $49.3 billion for the first three quarters of 2018 from $40.4 billion for the first three quarters of 2017. Total industry sales of fixed index annuities have increased 40% over the five-year period from 2012 to 2017 (data provided in the following table according to Wink's Sales and Market Report published by Wink, Inc.), which we believe is attributable to more Americans reaching retirement age and seeking products that will provide principal protection and guaranteed lifetime income.