Special Report

Big Cities With the Oldest Populations

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.

In some major metropolitan areas, the median age is far higher than the national median. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 U.S. metro areas with the oldest populations. Among the metro areas on this list, the median age of the population ranges from about 43 years to well over 60. 

Many of the places on this list are located in Sun Belt states, such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina – where winters tend to be mild, even warm. Favorable climates make many communities in these states popular destinations for retirees. In every metro area on this list, the share of the population who are 65 or older exceeds the national 15.9% share – including four Florida metro areas where over a third of the population are retirement age. Here is a look at what it costs to retire comfortably in every state. 

In most of the places on this list, residents appear to be less likely to be starting or raising a family. In all 50 of these metro areas, the share of households home to children under the age of 18 is below the comparable nationwide share of 30.7% . In several of these places – including six in Florida – fewer than one in every five households are home to children. (Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.)

Click here to see the oldest metro areas in the country
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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