As the baby boomer generation continues to age, and as birth rates slow nationwide, the U.S. population is rapidly growing older. The number of Americans older than 55 grew by 27% in the last decade, 20 times faster than the growth rate of the under 55 population, according to census data analysis. Currently, the median age in the United States is about 38. By 2060, the median age is projected to be 43.
While there are still decades to go before the median age in the U.S. exceeds 40, there are already counties that are ahead of this trend. Every state has at least one county or county equivalent where the median age is over half a decade above the national median.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the youngest county or county equivalent in each state. Depending on the state, the median age in the oldest county ranges from about 44 to 67.
An aging population can carry significant economic implications. In places with large retirement-age populations, working-age residents often shoulder a greater burden in supporting non-working older residents who tend to rely more on social and health services. In nearly every county on this list, the ratio of residents 65 and older to working-age residents is far higher than it is across the state as a whole. Here is a look at the best (and worst) states for a healthy retirement.
A given area can have a higher than average median age for any number of reasons. It can be a retirement destination or simply lack institutions that tend to host large numbers of young people, like a college or university or a military base. Often, however, areas where the median age is higher than average are not drawing in new residents and young families, which is also often evidenced by net population decline. Most of the counties on this list are home to fewer people now than they were half a decade ago. Here is a look at the fastest shrinking place in every state.