Special Report

The Youngest Big Cities in America

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

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