New Data: U.S. 65 and Older Population Grows Rapidly as Baby Boomers Age
From the U.S. Census:
The U.S. Census Bureau today released estimates showing the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The 65-and-older population grew by over a third (34.2% or 13,787,044) during the past decade, and by 3.2% (1,688,924) from 2018 to 2019. The growth of this population contributed to an increase in the national median age from 37.2 years in 2010 to 38.4 in 2019, according to the Census Bureau’s 2019 Population Estimates.
“The first Baby Boomers reached 65 years old in 2011,” said Dr. Luke Rogers, chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Branch. “Since then, there’s been a rapid increase in the size of the 65-and-older population, which grew by over a third since 2010. No other age group saw such a fast increase. In fact, the under-18 population was smaller in 2019 than it was in 2010, in part due to lower fertility in the United States.”
In 2019, over half (29) of the states had a median age older than 38.4 years, including all nine states in the Northeast. Eleven states were in the South, six were in the Midwest, and three were in the West. Since 2010, the nation’s under-18 population declined by 1.5%, from 74,182,279 to 73,039,150.
In 2019, one in five people in Maine, Florida, West Virginia and Vermont were age 65 or older. Maine had the largest share (21.2%) of population in that age group, followed by Florida (20.9%), West Virginia (20.5%) and Vermont (20.0%). Utah had the lowest percentage (11.4%) of population age 65 and older followed by Washington, D.C. (12.4%), and Alaska (12.5%). Utah also had the lowest median age (31.3 years) in 2019, up 2.1 years from 29.2 in 2010. North Dakota was the only state whose median age declined (1.7 years) between 2010 and 2019. In 2019, North Dakota’s median age was 35.3 years.
Of the 3,142 counties in the United States in 2019, 57.3% (1,799) had a median age between 40.0 and 49.9 years; 34.2% (1,076) had a median age between 30 and 39.9; 6.8% (215) had a median age 50 or older; and 1.7% (52) had a median age younger than 30 years. Between 2010 and 2019, the median age increased in 83.2% (2,614) of counties. During this period, the median age dropped in 15.9% (500) of counties and stayed the same in 28 or 0.9% of counties. In 2019, Sumter County, Florida, had the highest median age (68.1 years), and Madison County, Idaho, had the lowest median age (23.3 years).
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Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.