The median age of Americans hit a record high of nearly 39 in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2000, the median age was 35, and in 1980 it was 30—meaning half of Americans were older, half younger. These findings add to the evidence that like many European and Asian countries, the United States is graying, reducing the workforce, and stressing economic and social programs.
Low birth rates are the primary reason for the rising median age.
“It’s simple arithmetic,” Andrew Beveridge, president of Social Explorer, a demographic data firm, told the New York Times. “Fewer kids are being born.”
The trend is also affecting countries with stronger social programs than the United States, such as Norway, Sweden and Finland, which subsidize child care.
The oldest state is Maine, which has a median age of 44.8, with New Hampshire (43.3) not far behind. Utah (31.9), the District of Columbia (34.8) and Texas (35.5) are the youngest, according to the Census Bureau.
Among counties with populations over 100,000, the oldest was Sumter County, Fla., an area popular with retirees. Its median age: 68.1.
The youngest large county was Utah County, home to the city of Provo, with a median age of 26. Utah has some of the nation’s highest fertility rates, the Times noted.
The nation is also becoming more diverse. Between 2021 and 2022, the Asian and Hispanic populations each grew by about 2%; the Black population by 0.9%; and the white population by 0.1%.
The Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander population grew by 2% and the American Indian population rose by 1%.
Among large counties, Kaufman County, Texas, had the nation’s fastest-growing Black population, up 21%—more than 6,000 residents—between 2021 and 2022. Its median age was 33.9 last year, the Times reported.
The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics has state-by-state data on fertility rates.
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