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 typical. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the county or county equivalent with the oldest populations.
Among the places on this list, the median age of the population ranges from about 43 years to well over 60. In every case, the median age in each state’s oldest county is higher than the median age across the state as a whole.
The counties and county equivalents on this list tend to have relatively large retirement age populations. In each of these places, the share of the population age 65 or older exceeds the statewide share, and in 15 of these places, the 65 and older population is at least double the 15.9% share nationwide. Here is a look at what it costs to retire comfortably in every state.
In nearly every place on this list, residents appear to be less likely to be starting or raising a family – as in all but one of them, the share of households home to children under the age of 18 is below the comparable statewide share. (Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.)
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