The U.S. population is older now than it has been since record keeping began. The median age in the United States is 38.2 years, up from 36.9 years a decade ago, and from less than 30 in the 1970s.
This trend is the result of several factors – both long and short term. For one, Americans are now living longer than they have in past decades. Driven in part by improvements in health care, average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is now about 77 years, five years longer than it was in the mid-1970s. More recently, falling birth rates and tightened restrictions on immigration – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic – have accelerated the aging of the U.S. population.
While most Americans nationwide are now over age 38, at the state-level, age demographics can vary considerably. Depending on the state, the median age can vary by a decade or more.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the oldest and youngest populations. All 50 states are ranked by their median age.
The states with the highest median age are concentrated in the Northeast. In five of the six New England states, for example, at least half of the population is over 40. These states tend to have larger than average retirement-age populations. (Here is a look at what it costs to retire comfortably in every state.)
Younger states, which are spread across the Midwest, South, and West, tend to have a high concentration of households with children. In Utah, the youngest state in the country with a median age of just 31 years, over 40% of households are home to at least one child under age 18 – well above the comparable 30.7% share of households nationwide. Utah also has the highest birth rate in the nation. (Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.)
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