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 U.S. counties, 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. counties with the oldest populations. Among the counties on this list, the median age of the population ranges from about 54 years to well over 60.
Several of the counties 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 county on this list, over 25% of the population are 65 or older, compared to 15.9% of all Americans. 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 counties, the share of households home to children under the age of 18 is below the 30.7% comparable nationwide share. (Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.)
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