Special Report

The Youngest Big Cities in America

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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.

As the country as a whole is skewing older, there are places that stand out for having especially young populations. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 U.S. metro areas with the youngest populations. Among the metro areas on this list, the median age of the population ranges from about 34 years down to just 25. 

The places on this list span the country, though Texas alone is home to nine, the most of any state. Several of these metro areas – including Watertown, New York and Fayetteville, North Carolina are home to major military installations. Because Americans must be between the ages of 17 and 35 to enlist, military bases tend to have relatively young populations. (Here is a look at the states where the most Americans serve in the military.)

Many other metro areas on this list – including Athens, Georgia; Blacksburg, Virginia; and Ithaca, New York – are college towns, home to major research universities. In fact, in 21 metro areas on this list, the share of the population who are enrolled in college is more than double the 6.8% national share. 

Additionally, in many places on this list, residents appear to be more likely to be starting or raising a family. In most of these 50 metro areas, the share of households home to children under the age of 18 is above the comparable nationwide share of 30.7%. (Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.)

Click here to see the metro areas with the youngest populations
Click here to read our detailed methodology

50. Blacksburg-Christiansburg, VA
> Median age (years): 33.7
> Population enrolled in college: 23.0% — 6th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.5% — 36th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 15.0% — 126th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 167,201 — 129th lowest of 384 metros

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49. Lawton, OK
> Median age (years): 33.6
> Population enrolled in college: 6.1% — 172nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 27.3% — 45th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.7% — 70th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 127,157 — 70th lowest of 384 metros

48. Bloomington, IL
> Median age (years): 33.3
> Population enrolled in college: 15.6% — 24th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 24.2% — 175th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.9% — 44th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 172,164 — 139th lowest of 384 metros

47. Las Cruces, NM
> Median age (years): 33.3
> Population enrolled in college: 11.0% — 45th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 26.9% — 60th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 15.8% — 168th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 217,696 — 176th lowest of 384 metros

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46. Corvallis, OR
> Median age (years): 33.2
> Population enrolled in college: 23.1% — 5th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.5% — 20th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 16.0% — 177th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 92,168 — 18th lowest of 384 metros

45. Mankato, MN
> Median age (years): 33.2
> Population enrolled in college: 14.6% — 25th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 23.4% — 150th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.9% — 77th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 101,544 — 29th lowest of 384 metros

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44. State College, PA
> Median age (years): 32.9
> Population enrolled in college: 24.2% — 3rd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.0% — 17th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 14.2% — 92nd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 162,264 — 123rd lowest of 384 metros

43. Salt Lake City, UT
> Median age (years): 32.9
> Population enrolled in college: 7.0% — 135th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 28.9% — 28th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 10.7% — 9th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 1,215,955 — 47th highest of 384 metros

42. Yakima, WA
> Median age (years): 32.9
> Population enrolled in college: 4.2% — 34th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 31.6% — 13th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.7% — 68th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 250,649 — 191st highest of 384 metros

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41. Idaho Falls, ID
> Median age (years): 32.9
> Population enrolled in college: 4.8% — 79th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 32.5% — 6th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.9% — 45th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 148,811 — 102nd lowest of 384 metros

40. Watertown-Fort Drum, NY
> Median age (years): 32.8
> Population enrolled in college: 5.3% — 107th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 27.8% — 36th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 15.0% — 127th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 111,454 — 44th lowest of 384 metros

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39. Greenville, NC
> Median age (years): 32.7
> Population enrolled in college: 16.3% — 18th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 24.0% — 191st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.1% — 49th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 179,961 — 150th lowest of 384 metros

38. Fargo, ND-MN
> Median age (years): 32.7
> Population enrolled in college: 11.3% — 42nd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 24.9% — 137th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.0% — 24th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 243,966 — 192nd lowest of 384 metros

37. Athens-Clarke County, GA
> Median age (years): 32.5
> Population enrolled in college: 17.4% — 17th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 23.3% — 148th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.8% — 41st lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 210,810 — 171st lowest of 384 metros

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36. Fayetteville, NC
> Median age (years): 32.5
> Population enrolled in college: 8.7% — 69th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 29.0% — 27th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.6% — 39th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 523,480 — 108th highest of 384 metros

35. El Centro, CA
> Median age (years): 32.5
> Population enrolled in college: 7.3% — 124th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 31.9% — 11th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.5% — 64th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 180,580 — 152nd lowest of 384 metros

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34. Columbia, MO
> Median age (years): 32.4
> Population enrolled in college: 16.1% — 20th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.7% — 112th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.8% — 40th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 207,248 — 167th lowest of 384 metros

33. Auburn-Opelika, AL
> Median age (years): 32.4
> Population enrolled in college: 17.5% — 16th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 23.7% — 176th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.0% — 25th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 163,461 — 126th lowest of 384 metros

32. El Paso, TX
> Median age (years): 32.4
> Population enrolled in college: 9.0% — 65th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 29.6% — 24th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.4% — 33rd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 841,602 — 69th highest of 384 metros

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31. Fresno, CA
> Median age (years): 32.4
> Population enrolled in college: 7.5% — 113th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 30.2% — 21st highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.1% — 29th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 990,204 — 55th highest of 384 metros

30. Grand Forks, ND-MN
> Median age (years): 32.2
> Population enrolled in college: 13.3% — 30th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 24.3% — 173rd highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 14.1% — 83rd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 101,627 — 30th lowest of 384 metros

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29. Valdosta, GA
> Median age (years): 32.1
> Population enrolled in college: 9.1% — 63rd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 26.8% — 61st highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.5% — 65th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 146,462 — 98th lowest of 384 metros

28. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
> Median age (years): 32.1
> Population enrolled in college: 6.4% — 175th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 32.4% — 7th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.0% — 11th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 672,948 — 86th highest of 384 metros

27. Hanford-Corcoran, CA
> Median age (years): 32.0
> Population enrolled in college: 7.1% — 129th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 32.0% — 10th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.3% — 19th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 151,090 — 108th lowest of 384 metros

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26. Killeen-Temple, TX
> Median age (years): 31.9
> Population enrolled in college: 7.6% — 106th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 30.3% — 19th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.8% — 23rd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 452,428 — 120th highest of 384 metros

25. Bakersfield, CA
> Median age (years): 31.9
> Population enrolled in college: 6.7% — 158th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 31.4% — 16th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.1% — 15th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 892,458 — 62nd highest of 384 metros

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24. Midland, TX
> Median age (years): 31.8
> Population enrolled in college: 5.3% — 113th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 30.4% — 18th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 10.1% — 6th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 176,914 — 144th lowest of 384 metros

23. Brownsville-Harlingen, TX
> Median age (years): 31.7
> Population enrolled in college: 5.1% — 92nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 32.3% — 9th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.3% — 59th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 422,135 — 128th highest of 384 metros

22. Bloomington, IN
> Median age (years): 31.5
> Population enrolled in college: 23.5% — 4th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.0% — 26th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.4% — 61st lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 168,172 — 131st lowest of 384 metros

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21. Fairbanks, AK
> Median age (years): 31.5
> Population enrolled in college: 8.7% — 71st highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 27.3% — 46th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.2% — 17th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 98,455 — 25th lowest of 384 metros

20. Iowa City, IA
> Median age (years): 31.4
> Population enrolled in college: 18.6% — 12th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.9% — 126th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.3% — 31st lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 172,919 — 140th lowest of 384 metros

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19. Ithaca, NY
> Median age (years): 31.3
> Population enrolled in college: 27.0% — the highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 19.0% — 16th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 14.1% — 82nd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 102,237 — 31st lowest of 384 metros

18. Champaign-Urbana, IL
> Median age (years): 31.2
> Population enrolled in college: 21.0% — 9th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 22.5% — 100th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.1% — 48th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 226,418 — 184th lowest of 384 metros

17. Lubbock, TX
> Median age (years): 31.2
> Population enrolled in college: 14.1% — 27th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 26.3% — 75th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.4% — 34th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 320,031 — 158th highest of 384 metros

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16. Clarksville, TN-KY
> Median age (years): 31.2
> Population enrolled in college: 7.5% — 112th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 29.9% — 22nd highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.7% — 22nd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 304,584 — 165th highest of 384 metros

15. Merced, CA
> Median age (years): 31.2
> Population enrolled in college: 8.3% — 82nd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 31.6% — 14th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.2% — 18th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 273,661 — 176th highest of 384 metros

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14. Visalia, CA
> Median age (years): 31.2
> Population enrolled in college: 6.3% — 192nd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 32.5% — 5th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.2% — 16th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 463,955 — 118th highest of 384 metros

13. Flagstaff, AZ
> Median age (years): 31.0
> Population enrolled in college: 18.0% — 14th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 24.8% — 145th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.6% — 37th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 142,254 — 94th lowest of 384 metros

12. Odessa, TX
> Median age (years): 30.6
> Population enrolled in college: 4.9% — 81st lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 31.8% — 12th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 9.5% — 3rd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 162,067 — 122nd lowest of 384 metros

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11. Lawrence, KS
> Median age (years): 30.2
> Population enrolled in college: 21.0% — 8th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.9% — 48th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.1% — 28th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 121,304 — 57th lowest of 384 metros

10. Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN
> Median age (years): 30.2
> Population enrolled in college: 19.6% — 10th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 23.8% — 180th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 12.3% — 32nd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 230,353 — 187th lowest of 384 metros

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9. Ames, IA
> Median age (years): 29.5
> Population enrolled in college: 24.9% — 2nd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 20.1% — 29th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 13.1% — 50th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 123,736 — 62nd lowest of 384 metros

8. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
> Median age (years): 29.4
> Population enrolled in college: 6.2% — 180th lowest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 34.8% — 3rd highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.0% — 12th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 861,137 — 65th highest of 384 metros

7. Hinesville, GA
> Median age (years): 29.3
> Population enrolled in college: 6.3% — 184th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 32.3% — 8th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 9.7% — 4th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 81,275 — 8th lowest of 384 metros

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6. Laredo, TX
> Median age (years): 28.9
> Population enrolled in college: 6.4% — 176th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 34.9% — 2nd highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 9.3% — 2nd lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 274,847 — 175th highest of 384 metros

5. College Station-Bryan, TX
> Median age (years): 28.1
> Population enrolled in college: 22.3% — 7th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 23.9% — 182nd lowest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 10.6% — 8th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 261,701 — 188th highest of 384 metros

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4. Manhattan, KS
> Median age (years): 27.0
> Population enrolled in college: 18.4% — 13th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 26.9% — 58th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 10.4% — 7th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 131,571 — 75th lowest of 384 metros

3. Jacksonville, NC
> Median age (years): 26.5
> Population enrolled in college: 8.0% — 89th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 31.4% — 15th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 11.4% — 20th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 198,377 — 160th lowest of 384 metros

2. Logan, UT-ID
> Median age (years): 25.8
> Population enrolled in college: 14.1% — 26th highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 32.8% — 4th highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 9.8% — 5th lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 140,072 — 88th lowest of 384 metros

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1. Provo-Orem, UT
> Median age (years): 25.0
> Population enrolled in college: 12.9% — 32nd highest of 384 metros
> Population 18 and younger: 35.6% — the highest of 384 metros
> Population 65 and older: 7.7% — the lowest of 384 metros
> Total population: 633,129 — 94th highest of 384 metros

Methodology

To determine the metro areas with the lowest median ages, 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 18 and younger. 

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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