Special Report

The Youngest County in Every State

Even as the U.S. population ages and the birth rate declines, there are counties in each state where the median age is lower than the national median of 38.

To determine the county with the youngest population in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed five-year data on median age in each county or county equivalent from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. Counties were ranked based on the median age of all residents. In the case of a tie, the county with the largest share of population under age 18 ranked as the youngest.

Supplemental data on the share of the population under 18 years old and total population are five-year estimates and also came from the 2020 ACS. Data on population and place boundaries used to determine the largest city, town, or census designated place   in every county came from the Census Bureau. 

Among the reasons why certain areas have younger demographics than others are the presence of large universities, military bases, and dynamic economic sectors.

The vast majority of the 19.6 million college and university students in the United States are under 25 years old, and the presence of a postsecondary institution can lower the median age of any county. That is the case in places such as Tolland County in Connecticut, home to the University of Connecticut; Centre County in Pennsylvania, where Penn State University is located; and Leon County, Florida, home to Florida State University and Florida A&M. (These are the 30 best college towns in America.)

Some counties on this list are home to military bases and installations. These include Christian County in Kentucky, home of the massive Fort Campbell; Onslow County, North Carolina, site of the storied Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base; and Riley County, Kansas, where Fort Riley is located. Age ceilings for enlistment in the U.S. armed services contribute to lower median age in these areas. (These are America’s 25 military cities.)

Click here to see the county with the youngest population in every state

Another reason certain areas have younger demographics is the presence of robust economic sectors. The biggest city in New Jersey’s Hudson County is Jersey City, across the Hudson River from New York City. In recent years, Jersey City has become a financial industry powerhouse. This has led to an upsurge in housing redevelopment, a vibrant nightlife, and a surge in younger residents.

Many of the counties that are the youngest in their respective states are also the most populous, among them Utah County in Utah; Chittenden in Vermont; and Providence in Rhode Island. Twenty-two of the counties on the list have a median age under 30 years old.

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