Special Report

Big Cities With the Oldest Populations

Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

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

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

50. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
> Median age (years): 42.6
> Population enrolled in college: 5.8% — 148th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.7% — 74th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.4% — 63rd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 554,787 — 101st highest of 384 metros

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49. Medford, OR
> Median age (years): 42.6
> Population enrolled in college: 4.8% — 71st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.9% — 80th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 21.9% — 27th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 218,781 — 178th lowest of 384 metros

Source: Dee / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

48. Johnson City, TN
> Median age (years): 42.7
> Population enrolled in college: 7.4% — 118th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.2% — 33rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.2% — 69th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 203,147 — 164th lowest of 384 metros

Source: csfotoimages / iStock via Getty Images

47. Monroe, MI
> Median age (years): 42.8
> Population enrolled in college: 5.2% — 103rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.7% — 111th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 17.9% — 114th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 150,000 — 105th lowest of 384 metros

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

46. Roanoke, VA
> Median age (years): 42.9
> Population enrolled in college: 5.1% — 95th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.0% — 86th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.8% — 53rd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 313,289 — 163rd highest of 384 metros

Source: BeachcottagePhotography / iStock via Getty Images

45. Brunswick, GA
> Median age (years): 42.9
> Population enrolled in college: 4.1% — 27th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.9% — 123rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 20.2% — 45th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 118,149 — 52nd lowest of 384 metros

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44. Morristown, TN
> Median age (years): 43.0
> Population enrolled in college: 4.3% — 39th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.6% — 106th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 18.9% — 77th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 141,909 — 93rd lowest of 384 metros

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43. Pittsburgh, PA
> Median age (years): 43.1
> Population enrolled in college: 6.1% — 173rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.3% — 35th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.7% — 56th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 2,324,447 — 27th highest of 384 metros

Source: Jeff Yount / iStock via Getty Images

42. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
> Median age (years): 43.2
> Population enrolled in college: 4.5% — 56th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.2% — 92nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.0% — 73rd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 367,982 — 148th highest of 384 metros

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41. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL
> Median age (years): 43.2
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% — 22nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.8% — 120th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 20.4% — 41st highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 218,289 — 177th lowest of 384 metros

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40. East Stroudsburg, PA
> Median age (years): 43.3
> Population enrolled in college: 6.1% — 179th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.5% — 64th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 17.2% — 146th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 168,824 — 134th lowest of 384 metros

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39. Beckley, WV
> Median age (years): 43.3
> Population enrolled in college: 4.2% — 35th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.6% — 103rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 21.0% — 33rd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 117,539 — 51st lowest of 384 metros

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38. Bay City, MI
> Median age (years): 43.6
> Population enrolled in college: 4.7% — 64th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.4% — 57th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.8% — 52nd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 103,506 — 36th lowest of 384 metros

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37. Altoona, PA
> Median age (years): 43.6
> Population enrolled in college: 4.3% — 38th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.9% — 83rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.9% — 50th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 122,495 — 59th lowest of 384 metros

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36. Charleston, WV
> Median age (years): 43.6
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% — 18th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.9% — 79th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 20.1% — 46th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 260,920 — 189th highest of 384 metros

Source: Daniel Hanscom / iStock via Getty Images

35. Portland-South Portland, ME
> Median age (years): 43.7
> Population enrolled in college: 5.9% — 161st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.1% — 30th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.2% — 64th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 536,314 — 106th highest of 384 metros

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34. Staunton, VA
> Median age (years): 43.7
> Population enrolled in college: 4.1% — 31st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.7% — 75th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 20.7% — 37th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 122,714 — 60th lowest of 384 metros

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33. Parkersburg-Vienna, WV
> Median age (years): 43.8
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% — 21st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.2% — 89th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 20.1% — 47th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 90,151 — 17th lowest of 384 metros

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32. Gettysburg, PA
> Median age (years): 44.0
> Population enrolled in college: 6.2% — 183rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.9% — 78th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.8% — 51st highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 102,627 — 32nd lowest of 384 metros

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31. Kingston, NY
> Median age (years): 44.1
> Population enrolled in college: 7.0% — 133rd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.6% — 21st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 19.8% — 54th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 178,371 — 145th lowest of 384 metros

30. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
> Median age (years): 44.2
> Population enrolled in college: 4.8% — 78th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.7% — 73rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 20.9% — 35th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 538,115 — 105th highest of 384 metros

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29. Wheeling, WV-OH
> Median age (years): 44.4
> Population enrolled in college: 4.6% — 58th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.9% — 46th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 21.1% — 32nd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 140,199 — 89th lowest of 384 metros

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

28. Asheville, NC
> Median age (years): 44.4
> Population enrolled in college: 5.2% — 105th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.8% — 24th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 21.8% — 29th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 459,344 — 119th highest of 384 metros

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

27. Hot Springs, AR
> Median age (years): 45.1
> Population enrolled in college: 4.3% — 47th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.5% — 59th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 23.5% — 23rd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 99,043 — 26th lowest of 384 metros

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26. Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA
> Median age (years): 45.5
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% — 16th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.6% — 39th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 22.0% — 26th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 307,267 — 164th highest of 384 metros

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

25. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton, SC
> Median age (years): 45.5
> Population enrolled in college: 4.3% — 44th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.6% — 41st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 26.9% — 13th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 219,290 — 179th lowest of 384 metros

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24. Glens Falls, NY
> Median age (years): 45.6
> Population enrolled in college: 3.7% — 9th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.0% — 27th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 20.9% — 34th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 125,491 — 66th lowest of 384 metros

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23. Johnstown, PA
> Median age (years): 45.6
> Population enrolled in college: 5.8% — 154th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.8% — 42nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 22.4% — 25th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 131,611 — 76th lowest of 384 metros

22. Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH
> Median age (years): 45.7
> Population enrolled in college: 5.4% — 124th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.5% — 37th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 21.8% — 28th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 117,223 — 50th lowest of 384 metros

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21. Salisbury, MD-DE
> Median age (years): 46.0
> Population enrolled in college: 6.4% — 178th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 21.0% — 49th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 24.1% — 20th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 411,137 — 132nd highest of 384 metros

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

20. Santa Fe, NM
> Median age (years): 46.8
> Population enrolled in college: 5.0% — 88th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.3% — 18th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 24.4% — 19th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 150,319 — 107th lowest of 384 metros

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19. Pittsfield, MA
> Median age (years): 47.2
> Population enrolled in college: 6.7% — 161st highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.3% — 11th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 22.9% — 24th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 125,927 — 68th lowest of 384 metros

Source: Stephen Wood / iStock via Getty Images

18. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
> Median age (years): 47.2
> Population enrolled in college: 5.7% — 142nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.5% — 19th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 23.6% — 22nd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 594,001 — 97th highest of 384 metros

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

17. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL
> Median age (years): 47.5
> Population enrolled in college: 5.8% — 152nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.9% — 15th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 25.3% — 18th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 658,961 — 89th highest of 384 metros

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16. Grants Pass, OR
> Median age (years): 47.5
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% — 20th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.6% — 38th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 25.9% — 17th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 87,097 — 15th lowest of 384 metros

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15. Port St. Lucie, FL
> Median age (years): 48.0
> Population enrolled in college: 4.7% — 68th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.8% — 22nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 26.5% — 14th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 481,334 — 114th highest of 384 metros

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14. Ocala, FL
> Median age (years): 48.7
> Population enrolled in college: 3.8% — 11th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.0% — 25th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 29.2% — 11th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 360,210 — 149th highest of 384 metros

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

13. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC
> Median age (years): 48.8
> Population enrolled in college: 4.6% — 59th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.4% — 12th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 26.1% — 16th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 481,489 — 113th highest of 384 metros

Source: CampPhoto / iStock via Getty Images

12. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
> Median age (years): 48.8
> Population enrolled in college: 4.8% — 77th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.8% — 13th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 28.4% — 12th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 756,570 — 76th highest of 384 metros

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11. Ocean City, NJ
> Median age (years): 50.3
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% — 19th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.9% — 14th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 26.3% — 15th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 92,701 — 19th lowest of 384 metros

Source: benedek / iStock via Getty Images

10. Naples-Marco Island, FL
> Median age (years): 51.3
> Population enrolled in college: 4.3% — 42nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.2% — 10th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 32.1% — 6th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 379,345 — 143rd highest of 384 metros

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9. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
> Median age (years): 52.3
> Population enrolled in college: 3.2% — 4th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.2% — 9th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 30.7% — 9th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 210,998 — 172nd lowest of 384 metros

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

8. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
> Median age (years): 52.9
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% — 14th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 17.2% — 6th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 32.1% — 7th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 821,613 — 72nd highest of 384 metros

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

7. Barnstable Town, MA
> Median age (years): 53.7
> Population enrolled in college: 4.7% — 65th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 16.3% — 4th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 30.2% — 10th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 213,505 — 174th lowest of 384 metros

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6. Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL
> Median age (years): 54.0
> Population enrolled in college: 4.5% — 53rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 17.2% — 5th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 33.0% — 5th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 156,964 — 119th lowest of 384 metros

Source: Althom / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

5. Prescott Valley-Prescott, AZ
> Median age (years): 54.1
> Population enrolled in college: 5.9% — 158th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 17.6% — 7th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 31.6% — 8th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 232,396 — 189th lowest of 384 metros

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4. Sebring-Avon Park, FL
> Median age (years): 54.1
> Population enrolled in college: 3.4% — 7th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 18.0% — 8th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 35.5% — 4th highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 104,574 — 37th lowest of 384 metros

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

3. Homosassa Springs, FL
> Median age (years): 56.7
> Population enrolled in college: 2.9% — 2nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 15.7% — 3rd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 36.4% — 3rd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 147,938 — 101st lowest of 384 metros

Source: choicegraphx / iStock via Getty Images

2. Punta Gorda, FL
> Median age (years): 59.5
> Population enrolled in college: 3.4% — 8th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 13.2% — 2nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 40.2% — 2nd highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 185,926 — 155th lowest of 384 metros

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1. The Villages, FL
> Median age (years): 68.0
> Population enrolled in college: 1.5% — the lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 8.3% — the lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 61.8% — the highest of 384 metros
> Total population: 129,938 — 74th lowest of 384 metros

Methodology

To determine the 50 oldest metro areas in the country, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median age from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

We used the 384 metropolitan statistical areas as delineated by the United States Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau as our definition of metros.

Metro areas were ranked based on median age. To break ties, we used the share of the population that is 65 and older. 

Additional information on the share of the population that is currently enrolled in college, the share of the population that is 18 and younger, the share of the population that is 65 and older, and total population are also five-year estimates from the 2020 ACS. 

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