Oldest County in Every State

January 29, 2019 by Sam Stebbins

According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, retirement-age adults will outnumber Americans under age 18 by 2035 for the first time in history. The aging of the U.S. population is driven by a falling birth rate and long-term improvements in life expectancy. While these demographic shifts are novel on a national scale, in many parts of the country, they are nothing new.

The median age in the United States is 38 years and is projected to hit 43 years as early as 2060. Age demographics vary considerably by region, and in every state, there are counties where the median age already exceeds Census Bureau’s 2060 projection. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed median age by county to identify the oldest county in every state.

Click here to see the oldest county in every state.
Click here to see our methodology.

As the population ages, the United States will face new economic and public policy challenges. These challenges include increased health care, social security, and pension expenditures, with fewer workers to foot the bill.

There are currently about 24 retirement-age adults for every 100 working-age adults nationwide. In half of the counties on this list, the old age dependency ratio is at least double the national ratio. In Sumter County, Florida, the oldest county on this list, there are 141 residents age 65 or older for every 100 adults between the ages of 18 and 64.

These counties with a higher median age tend to have relatively small populations that are only getting smaller. Only four counties on this list have populations of over 100,000, and the vast majority of them are home to fewer people now than they were five years ago. Litchfield, Connecticut, is not only the oldest, but also the fastest shrinking, county in the state.

Source: Rudi Weikard / Wikimedia Commons

1. Alabama: Cherokee County
> Median age: 46.1 years (county), 38.7 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 21.0% (county), 15.7% (state)
> Population: 25,855
> Life expectancy: 75.1 years
> County seat: Centre

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Source: brewbooks / Flickr

2. Alaska: Wrangell City and Borough
> Median age: 49.1 years (borough), 33.9 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 22.4% (borough), 10.1% (state)
> Population: 2,475
> Life expectancy: 78.2 years
> Borough seat: Wrangell

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Source: lovz2hike / Flickr

3. Arizona: La Paz County
> Median age: 56.0 years (county), 37.2 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 37.3% (county), 16.2% (state)
> Population: 20,477
> Life expectancy: 80.7 years
> County seat: Parker

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Source: Archedamian / Wikimedia Commons

4. Arkansas: Baxter County
> Median age: 51.8 years (county), 37.9 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 30.5% (county), 16% (state)
> Population: 41,093
> Life expectancy: 76.9 years
> County seat: Mountain Home

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Source: Famartin / Wikimedia Commons

5. California: Sierra County
> Median age: 55.0 years (county), 36.1 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 26.4% (county), 13.2% (state)
> Population: 2,885
> Life expectancy: 79.0 years
> County seat: Downieville

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Source: fringedbenefit / Flickr

6. Colorado: Mineral County
> Median age: 58.5 years (county), 36.5 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 32.4% (county), 13% (state)
> Population: 834
> Life expectancy: 81.3 years
> County seat: Creede

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Source: brandtbolding / Getty Images

7. Connecticut: Litchfield County
> Median age: 46.9 years (county), 40.8 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 19.2% (county), 16% (state)
> Population: 184,454
> Life expectancy: 80.7 years
> Largest city: Torrington

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Source: Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr

8. Delaware: Sussex County
> Median age: 48.3 years (county), 39.8 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 25.2% (county), 17% (state)
> Population: 215,551
> Life expectancy: 78.8 years
> County seat: Georgetown

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Source: Ken Badgley / Getty Images

9. Florida: Sumter County
> Median age: 66.4 years (county), 41.8 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 54.2% (county), 19.4% (state)
> Population: 116,754
> Life expectancy: 81.7 years
> County seat: Bushnell

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Source: jeffgunn / Flickr

10. Georgia: Union County
> Median age: 53.8 years (county), 36.4 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 31.6% (county), 12.7% (state)
> Population: 22,262
> Life expectancy: 78.4 years
> County seat: Blairsville

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Source: quid-tum / Flickr

11. Hawaii: Kalawao County
> Median age: 57.6 years (county), 38.8 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 14.0% (county), 16.7% (state)
> Population: 86
> Life expectancy: 81.0 years
> Largest city: Kalaupapa

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Source: blmidaho / Flickr

12. Idaho: Custer County
> Median age: 53.4 years (county), 35.9 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 29.4% (county), 14.6% (state)
> Population: 4,141
> Life expectancy: 80.4 years
> County seat: Challis

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Source: roadgeek / Flickr

13. Illinois: Pope County
> Median age: 52.2 years (county), 37.7 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 27.9% (county), 14.4% (state)
> Population: 4,360
> Life expectancy: 78.0 years
> County seat: Golconda

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Source: Kenneth_Keifer / Getty Images

14. Indiana: Brown County
> Median age: 49.3 years (county), 37.5 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 23.0% (county), 14.6% (state)
> Population: 15,007
> Life expectancy: 79.4 years
> County seat: Nashville

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Source: TheCatalyst31 / Wikimedia Commons

15. Iowa: Dickinson County
> Median age: 48.7 years (county), 38.1 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 24.3% (county), 16.1% (state)
> Population: 17,000
> Life expectancy: 81.3 years
> County seat: Spirit Lake

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Source: tomlinson_chris / Flickr

16. Kansas: Jewell County
> Median age: 51.9 years (county), 36.3 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 28.4% (county), 14.7% (state)
> Population: 2,963
> Life expectancy: 80.0 years
> County seat: Mankato

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Source: 144957155@N06 / Flickr

17. Kentucky: Lyon County
> Median age: 49.2 years (county), 38.6 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 24.1% (county), 15.2% (state)
> Population: 8,268
> Life expectancy: 76.6 years
> County seat: Eddyville

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Source: kenlund / Flickr

18. Louisiana: Tensas Parish
> Median age: 44.0 years (parish), 36.4 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 21.9% (parish), 14.1% (state)
> Population: 4,771
> Life expectancy: 74.4 years
> Parish seat: Saint Joseph

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Source: David Wilson / Flickr

19. Maine: Piscataquis County
> Median age: 50.7 years (county), 44.3 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 24.6% (county), 18.8% (state)
> Population: 16,960
> Life expectancy: 78.0 years
> County seat: Dover-Foxcroft

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Source: Joesboy / Getty Images

20. Maryland: Talbot County
> Median age: 49.7 years (county), 38.5 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 26.9% (county), 14.2% (state)
> Population: 37,461
> Life expectancy: 80.5 years
> County seat: Easton

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Source: adoyle / Flickr

21. Massachusetts: Barnstable County
> Median age: 52.4 years (county), 39.4 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 28.5% (county), 15.5% (state)
> Population: 213,900
> Life expectancy: 80.8 years
> County seat: Barnstable

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Source: MoodyGroove / Wikimedia Commons

22. Michigan: Alcona County
> Median age: 57.9 years (county), 39.6 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 35.1% (county), 15.9% (state)
> Population: 10,413
> Life expectancy: 78.3 years
> County seat: Harrisville

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Source: shalynn / Flickr

23. Minnesota: Aitkin County
> Median age: 54.5 years (county), 37.9 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 31.4% (county), 14.6% (state)
> Population: 15,841
> Life expectancy: 80.4 years
> County seat: Aitkin

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Source: BOB WESTON / Getty Images

24. Mississippi: Amite County
> Median age: 46.4 years (county), 36.9 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 21.5% (county), 14.6% (state)
> Population: 12,574
> Life expectancy: 76.2 years
> County seat: Liberty

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Source: BOB WESTON / Getty Images

25. Missouri: Hickory County
> Median age: 54.8 years (county), 38.4 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 33.1% (county), 15.7% (state)
> Population: 9,352
> Life expectancy: 77.3 years
> County seat: Hermitage

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Source: JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD / Wikimedia Commons

26. Montana: Golden Valley County
> Median age: 54.0 years (county), 39.8 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 22.5% (county), 17.1% (state)
> Population: 747
> Life expectancy: 79.7 years
> County seat: Ryegate

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

27. Nebraska: Hooker County
> Median age: 58.0 years (county), 36.3 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 35.8% (county), 14.7% (state)
> Population: 684
> Life expectancy: 80.4 years
> County seat: Mullen

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Source: kenlund / Flickr

28. Nevada: Storey County
> Median age: 54.7 years (county), 37.7 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 31.8% (county), 14.6% (state)
> Population: 3,891
> Life expectancy: 82.1 years
> County seat: Virginia City

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Source: pennuja / Flickr

29. New Hampshire: Carroll County
> Median age: 51.4 years (county), 42.7 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 25.3% (county), 16.5% (state)
> Population: 47,524
> Life expectancy: 80.8 years
> County seat: Ossipee

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Source: sparhawk4242 / Getty Images

30. New Jersey: Cape May County
> Median age: 48.7 years (county), 39.6 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 24.5% (county), 15.1% (state)
> Population: 94,549
> Life expectancy: 78.1 years
> County seat: Cape May Court House

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Source: 50228879@N00 / Flickr

31. New Mexico: Catron County
> Median age: 60.2 years (county), 37.3 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 39.2% (county), 15.8% (state)
> Population: 3,547
> Life expectancy: 80.1 years
> County seat: Reserve

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Source: DebraMillet / Getty Images

32. New York: Hamilton County
> Median age: 53.7 years (county), 38.4 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 27.6% (county), 15.2% (state)
> Population: 4,646
> Life expectancy: 79.3 years
> County seat: Lake Pleasant

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

33. North Carolina: Polk County
> Median age: 52.1 years (county), 38.4 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 28.3% (county), 15.1% (state)
> Population: 20,434
> Life expectancy: 78.9 years
> County seat: Columbus

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Source: afiler / Flickr

34. North Dakota: McIntosh County
> Median age: 53.5 years (county), 35.1 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 32.1% (county), 14.4% (state)
> Population: 2,680
> Life expectancy: 80.6 years
> County seat: Ashley

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Source: 123443334@N07 / Flickr

35. Ohio: Noble County
> Median age: 48.7 years (county), 39.3 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 25.1% (county), 15.9% (state)
> Population: 14,498
> Life expectancy: 81.1 years
> County seat: Caldwell

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Source: freewine / Flickr

36. Oklahoma: McIntosh County
> Median age: 47.0 years (county), 36.3 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 24.2% (county), 14.7% (state)
> Population: 19,874
> Life expectancy: 74.7 years
> County seat: Eufaula

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Source: raschau / Flickr

37. Oregon: Wheeler County
> Median age: 57.9 years (county), 39.2 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 33.5% (county), 16.3% (state)
> Population: 1,415
> Life expectancy: 79.5 years
> County seat: Fossil

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Source: nicholas_t / Flickr

38. Pennsylvania: Sullivan County
> Median age: 53.1 years (county), 40.7 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 26.9% (county), 17.1% (state)
> Population: 6,192
> Life expectancy: 77.0 years
> County seat: Laporte

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Source: Image Source / Getty Images

39. Rhode Island: Newport County
> Median age: 44.6 years (county), 39.9 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 20.1% (county), 16.1% (state)
> Population: 83,204
> Life expectancy: 81.2 years
> Largest city: Newport

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Source: sirmildredpierce / Flickr

40. South Carolina: McCormick County
> Median age: 52.8 years (county), 39.0 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 31.0% (county), 16.3% (state)
> Population: 9,694
> Life expectancy: 77.0 years
> County seat: McCormick

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Source: volvob12b / Flickr

41. South Dakota: Custer County
> Median age: 53.8 years (county), 36.8 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 26.9% (county), 15.4% (state)
> Population: 8,519
> Life expectancy: 80.0 years
> County seat: Custer

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Source: thingsisee / Flickr

42. Tennessee: Cumberland County
> Median age: 50.5 years (county), 38.6 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 29.5% (county), 15.4% (state)
> Population: 58,178
> Life expectancy: 77.6 years
> County seat: Crossville

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Source: rutlo / Flickr

43. Texas: Loving County
> Median age: 57.5 years (county), 34.3 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 24.3% (county), 11.7% (state)
> Population: 74
> Life expectancy: 73.9 years
> County seat: Mentone

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Source: JERRYE AND KLOTZ MD / Wikimedia Commons

44. Utah: Daggett County
> Median age: 47.3 years (county), 30.5 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 17.0% (county), 10.3% (state)
> Population: 702
> Life expectancy: 81.3 years
> County seat: Manila

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Source: mar_ibert / Flickr

45. Vermont: Essex County
> Median age: 50.0 years (county), 42.8 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 23.9% (county), 17.5% (state)
> Population: 6,203
> Life expectancy: 79.7 years
> County seat: Guildhall

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Source: Joe_Potato / Getty Images

46. Virginia: Highland County
> Median age: 60.5 years (county), 38.0 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 38.8% (county), 14.2% (state)
> Population: 2,213
> Life expectancy: 79.8 years
> County seat: Monterey

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Source: Steven Pavlov / Wikimedia Commons

47. Washington: Jefferson County
> Median age: 57.1 years (county), 37.6 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 33.0% (county), 14.4% (state)
> Population: 30,524
> Life expectancy: 81.3 years
> County seat: Port Townsend

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Source: Famartin / Wikimedia Commons

48. West Virginia: Pendleton County
> Median age: 49.9 years (county), 42.2 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 25.1% (county), 18.3% (state)
> Population: 7,138
> Life expectancy: 79.3 years
> County seat: Franklin

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Source: Royalbroil / Wikimedia Commons

49. Wisconsin: Iron County
> Median age: 53.8 years (county), 39.2 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 28.6% (county), 15.6% (state)
> Population: 5,748
> Life expectancy: 79.3 years
> County seat: Hurley

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Source: tnovotny / Flickr

50. Wyoming: Hot Springs County
> Median age: 49.7 years (county), 37.0 years (state)
> Pop. 65 and older: 25.0% (county), 14.4% (state)
> Population: 4,741
> Life expectancy: 77.1 years
> County seat: Thermopolis

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Methodology:

To identify the oldest county in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the median age of each U.S. county from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Data on the share of residents 65 and older, population change, and old age dependency ratio also came from the ACS. In Alaska, county equivalents are referred to as boroughs or census areas, and in Louisiana, parishes are county equivalents. In counties without a county seat, the most populous city is listed.