Special Report

The County With the Oldest Population in Every State

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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.

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.)

Click here to see the county with the oldest population in each state. 

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

Source: Jacqueline Nix / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Alabama: Coosa County
> Median age (years): 49.0 (Alabama: 39.2)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.3% (Alabama: 6.3%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.0% (Alabama: 24.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 24.0% (Alabama: 16.8%)
> Total population: 10,696 (Alabama: 4,893,186)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 67

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Alaska: Hoonah-Angoon Census Area
> Median age (years): 52.1 (Alaska: 34.6)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.0% (Alaska: 5.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 13.6% (Alaska: 27.0%)
> Population 65 and older: 22.6% (Alaska: 12.1%)
> Total population: 2,135 (Alaska: 736,990)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 27

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Arizona: La Paz County
> Median age (years): 57.4 (Arizona: 37.9)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.1% (Arizona: 6.6%)
> Population 18 and younger: 16.9% (Arizona: 24.6%)
> Population 65 and older: 40.0% (Arizona: 17.7%)
> Total population: 21,035 (Arizona: 7,174,064)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 15

Arkansas: Baxter County
> Median age (years): 52.3 (Arkansas: 38.3)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.6% (Arkansas: 5.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.0% (Arkansas: 25.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.9% (Arkansas: 16.7%)
> Total population: 41,673 (Arkansas: 3,011,873)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 75

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> Median age (years): 54.0 (California: 36.7)
> Population enrolled in college: 4.0% (California: 8.1%)
> Population 18 and younger: 17.1% (California: 24.4%)
> Population 65 and older: 27.6% (California: 14.3%)
> Total population: 2,898 (California: 39,346,023)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 58

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Colorado: Custer County
> Median age (years): 60.1 (Colorado: 36.9)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.4% (Colorado: 6.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 16.8% (Colorado: 23.8%)
> Population 65 and older: 34.1% (Colorado: 14.2%)
> Total population: 4,941 (Colorado: 5,684,926)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 61

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Connecticut: Litchfield County
> Median age (years): 47.5 (Connecticut: 41.1)
> Population enrolled in college: 5.2% (Connecticut: 7.6%)
> Population 18 and younger: 19.3% (Connecticut: 22.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 20.9% (Connecticut: 16.9%)
> Total population: 181,143 (Connecticut: 3,570,549)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 8

Delaware: Sussex County
> Median age (years): 50.3 (Delaware: 41.0)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.8% (Delaware: 6.6%)
> Population 18 and younger: 19.9% (Delaware: 22.8%)
> Population 65 and older: 27.8% (Delaware: 18.7%)
> Total population: 230,249 (Delaware: 967,679)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 3

Florida: Sumter County
> Median age (years): 68.0 (Florida: 42.2)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.5% (Florida: 6.5%)
> Population 18 and younger: 8.3% (Florida: 21.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 61.8% (Florida: 20.5%)
> Total population: 129,938 (Florida: 21,216,924)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 67

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Georgia: Quitman County
> Median age (years): 56.9 (Georgia: 36.9)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.8% (Georgia: 6.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 13.7% (Georgia: 25.8%)
> Population 65 and older: 31.0% (Georgia: 13.8%)
> Total population: 2,290 (Georgia: 10,516,579)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 159

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Hawaii: Hawaii County
> Median age (years): 42.8 (Hawaii: 39.4)
> Population enrolled in college: 5.0% (Hawaii: 6.5%)
> Population 18 and younger: 22.9% (Hawaii: 23.2%)
> Population 65 and older: 20.9% (Hawaii: 18.8%)
> Total population: 201,350 (Hawaii: 1,420,074)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 4

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Idaho: Adams County
> Median age (years): 55.3 (Idaho: 36.6)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.4% (Idaho: 6.2%)
> Population 18 and younger: 16.6% (Idaho: 27.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.3% (Idaho: 15.8%)
> Total population: 4,200 (Idaho: 1,754,367)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 43

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Illinois: Pope County
> Median age (years): 56.8 (Illinois: 38.3)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.0% (Illinois: 6.8%)
> Population 18 and younger: 16.1% (Illinois: 24.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 31.1% (Illinois: 15.4%)
> Total population: 4,177 (Illinois: 12,716,164)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 102

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Indiana: Brown County
> Median age (years): 49.3 (Indiana: 37.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% (Indiana: 6.2%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.6% (Indiana: 25.2%)
> Population 65 and older: 23.7% (Indiana: 15.4%)
> Total population: 15,093 (Indiana: 6,696,893)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 92

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Iowa: Audubon County
> Median age (years): 48.5 (Iowa: 38.3)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.8% (Iowa: 6.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 21.5% (Iowa: 24.8%)
> Population 65 and older: 23.3% (Iowa: 16.6%)
> Total population: 5,528 (Iowa: 3,150,011)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 99

Kansas: Jewell County
> Median age (years): 52.8 (Kansas: 36.9)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.2% (Kansas: 6.9%)
> Population 18 and younger: 20.1% (Kansas: 26.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.0% (Kansas: 15.5%)
> Total population: 2,854 (Kansas: 2,912,619)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 105

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Kentucky: Lyon County
> Median age (years): 50.3 (Kentucky: 39.0)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.8% (Kentucky: 5.9%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.6% (Kentucky: 24.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.5% (Kentucky: 16.1%)
> Total population: 8,226 (Kentucky: 4,461,952)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 120

Louisiana: Cameron Parish
> Median age (years): 44.9 (Louisiana: 37.2)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.8% (Louisiana: 5.9%)
> Population 18 and younger: 22.3% (Louisiana: 25.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 18.2% (Louisiana: 15.3%)
> Total population: 6,963 (Louisiana: 4,664,616)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 64

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Maine: Piscataquis County
> Median age (years): 51.5 (Maine: 44.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.3% (Maine: 5.9%)
> Population 18 and younger: 17.8% (Maine: 20.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 26.0% (Maine: 20.3%)
> Total population: 16,864 (Maine: 1,340,825)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 16

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Maryland: Talbot County
> Median age (years): 51.0 (Maryland: 38.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 4.5% (Maryland: 7.5%)
> Population 18 and younger: 19.5% (Maryland: 23.9%)
> Population 65 and older: 28.8% (Maryland: 15.3%)
> Total population: 37,087 (Maryland: 6,037,624)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 24

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Massachusetts: Barnstable County
> Median age (years): 53.7 (Massachusetts: 39.6)
> Population enrolled in college: 4.7% (Massachusetts: 8.5%)
> Population 18 and younger: 16.3% (Massachusetts: 21.5%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.2% (Massachusetts: 16.2%)
> Total population: 213,505 (Massachusetts: 6,873,003)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 14

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Michigan: Ontonagon County
> Median age (years): 59.1 (Michigan: 39.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.7% (Michigan: 6.8%)
> Population 18 and younger: 13.2% (Michigan: 23.2%)
> Population 65 and older: 35.9% (Michigan: 17.0%)
> Total population: 5,802 (Michigan: 9,973,907)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 83

Minnesota: Aitkin County
> Median age (years): 55.9 (Minnesota: 38.1)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.3% (Minnesota: 6.4%)
> Population 18 and younger: 17.5% (Minnesota: 24.8%)
> Population 65 and older: 32.8% (Minnesota: 15.5%)
> Total population: 15,826 (Minnesota: 5,600,166)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 87

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Mississippi: Amite County
> Median age (years): 47.3 (Mississippi: 37.7)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.4% (Mississippi: 6.3%)
> Population 18 and younger: 21.6% (Mississippi: 25.7%)
> Population 65 and older: 23.1% (Mississippi: 15.8%)
> Total population: 12,341 (Mississippi: 2,981,835)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 82

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Missouri: Hickory County
> Median age (years): 55.0 (Missouri: 38.7)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.7% (Missouri: 6.1%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.4% (Missouri: 24.2%)
> Population 65 and older: 33.1% (Missouri: 16.6%)
> Total population: 9,452 (Missouri: 6,124,160)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 115

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Montana: Meagher County
> Median age (years): 56.3 (Montana: 40.1)
> Population enrolled in college: 5.0% (Montana: 5.8%)
> Population 18 and younger: 20.7% (Montana: 23.0%)
> Population 65 and older: 31.8% (Montana: 18.5%)
> Total population: 1,795 (Montana: 1,061,705)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 53

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Nebraska: Boyd County
> Median age (years): 56.2 (Nebraska: 36.6)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.2% (Nebraska: 7.0%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.0% (Nebraska: 26.4%)
> Population 65 and older: 32.0% (Nebraska: 15.4%)
> Total population: 1,882 (Nebraska: 1,923,826)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 80

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Nevada: Esmeralda County
> Median age (years): 54.6 (Nevada: 38.2)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.7% (Nevada: 5.5%)
> Population 18 and younger: 13.5% (Nevada: 24.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 25.6% (Nevada: 15.8%)
> Total population: 1,030 (Nevada: 3,030,281)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 17

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New Hampshire: Carroll County
> Median age (years): 53.4 (New Hampshire: 43.0)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.4% (New Hampshire: 6.6%)
> Population 18 and younger: 16.8% (New Hampshire: 20.6%)
> Population 65 and older: 27.9% (New Hampshire: 17.7%)
> Total population: 48,461 (New Hampshire: 1,355,244)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 10

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New Jersey: Cape May County
> Median age (years): 50.3 (New Jersey: 40.0)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.9% (New Jersey: 6.6%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.9% (New Jersey: 23.5%)
> Population 65 and older: 26.3% (New Jersey: 16.0%)
> Total population: 92,701 (New Jersey: 8,885,418)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 21

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New Mexico: Catron County
> Median age (years): 59.4 (New Mexico: 38.1)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.6% (New Mexico: 6.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 14.4% (New Mexico: 24.8%)
> Population 65 and older: 41.6% (New Mexico: 17.5%)
> Total population: 3,547 (New Mexico: 2,097,021)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 31

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New York: Hamilton County
> Median age (years): 55.5 (New York: 39.0)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.9% (New York: 7.3%)
> Population 18 and younger: 15.1% (New York: 22.4%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.9% (New York: 16.2%)
> Total population: 4,454 (New York: 19,514,849)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 62

North Carolina: Brunswick County
> Median age (years): 54.7 (North Carolina: 38.9)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.6% (North Carolina: 6.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 16.1% (North Carolina: 24.0%)
> Population 65 and older: 31.4% (North Carolina: 16.2%)
> Total population: 137,303 (North Carolina: 10,386,227)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 100

Source: via Facebook / courtesy of Griggs County Courthouse

North Dakota: Griggs County
> Median age (years): 54.4 (North Dakota: 35.2)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.3% (North Dakota: 7.4%)
> Population 18 and younger: 21.2% (North Dakota: 25.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 29.2% (North Dakota: 14.8%)
> Total population: 2,314 (North Dakota: 760,394)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 51

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Ohio: Noble County
> Median age (years): 51.2 (Ohio: 39.5)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.1% (Ohio: 6.2%)
> Population 18 and younger: 22.8% (Ohio: 23.9%)
> Population 65 and older: 31.4% (Ohio: 16.7%)
> Total population: 14,410 (Ohio: 11,675,275)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 88

Oklahoma: McIntosh County
> Median age (years): 47.7 (Oklahoma: 36.7)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.1% (Oklahoma: 6.0%)
> Population 18 and younger: 20.8% (Oklahoma: 26.1%)
> Population 65 and older: 25.3% (Oklahoma: 15.5%)
> Total population: 19,677 (Oklahoma: 3,949,342)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 77

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Oregon: Wheeler County
> Median age (years): 56.9 (Oregon: 39.5)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.9% (Oregon: 6.3%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.6% (Oregon: 22.2%)
> Population 65 and older: 34.4% (Oregon: 17.5%)
> Total population: 1,417 (Oregon: 4,176,346)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 36

Pennsylvania: Sullivan County
> Median age (years): 54.5 (Pennsylvania: 40.9)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.6% (Pennsylvania: 6.3%)
> Population 18 and younger: 12.1% (Pennsylvania: 22.4%)
> Population 65 and older: 26.7% (Pennsylvania: 17.9%)
> Total population: 6,038 (Pennsylvania: 12,794,885)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 67

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Rhode Island: Newport County
> Median age (years): 45.8 (Rhode Island: 40.0)
> Population enrolled in college: 7.3% (Rhode Island: 8.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.9% (Rhode Island: 21.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 22.8% (Rhode Island: 16.9%)
> Total population: 82,731 (Rhode Island: 1,057,798)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 5

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South Carolina: McCormick County
> Median age (years): 56.6 (South Carolina: 39.7)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.7% (South Carolina: 6.1%)
> Population 18 and younger: 13.3% (South Carolina: 23.5%)
> Population 65 and older: 37.8% (South Carolina: 17.7%)
> Total population: 9,495 (South Carolina: 5,091,517)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 46

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South Dakota: Custer County
> Median age (years): 55.9 (South Dakota: 37.2)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.6% (South Dakota: 5.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 15.3% (South Dakota: 26.2%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.1% (South Dakota: 16.3%)
> Total population: 8,826 (South Dakota: 879,336)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 65

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Tennessee: Cumberland County
> Median age (years): 51.8 (Tennessee: 38.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.4% (Tennessee: 5.8%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.5% (Tennessee: 23.9%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.7% (Tennessee: 16.2%)
> Total population: 60,016 (Tennessee: 6,772,268)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 95

Texas: Llano County
> Median age (years): 57.7 (Texas: 34.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.7% (Texas: 6.6%)
> Population 18 and younger: 15.4% (Texas: 27.6%)
> Population 65 and older: 36.8% (Texas: 12.5%)
> Total population: 21,452 (Texas: 28,635,442)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 243

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Utah: Piute County
> Median age (years): 53.4 (Utah: 31.1)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.4% (Utah: 8.3%)
> Population 18 and younger: 23.4% (Utah: 31.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 32.6% (Utah: 11.0%)
> Total population: 1,870 (Utah: 3,151,239)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 28

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Vermont: Essex County
> Median age (years): 51.4 (Vermont: 42.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.3% (Vermont: 7.7%)
> Population 18 and younger: 18.4% (Vermont: 20.3%)
> Population 65 and older: 26.2% (Vermont: 19.0%)
> Total population: 6,179 (Vermont: 624,340)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 14

Source: Joe_Potato / Getty Images

Virginia: Highland County
> Median age (years): 59.5 (Virginia: 38.4)
> Population enrolled in college: 1.1% (Virginia: 7.4%)
> Population 18 and younger: 14.3% (Virginia: 24.0%)
> Population 65 and older: 38.8% (Virginia: 15.5%)
> Total population: 2,202 (Virginia: 8,509,358)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 133

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Washington: Jefferson County
> Median age (years): 59.0 (Washington: 37.8)
> Population enrolled in college: 2.8% (Washington: 6.2%)
> Population 18 and younger: 12.9% (Washington: 23.6%)
> Population 65 and older: 37.1% (Washington: 15.4%)
> Total population: 31,825 (Washington: 7,512,465)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 39

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West Virginia: Pendleton County
> Median age (years): 51.8 (West Virginia: 42.7)
> Population enrolled in college: 0.5% (West Virginia: 5.4%)
> Population 18 and younger: 17.7% (West Virginia: 21.8%)
> Population 65 and older: 27.3% (West Virginia: 19.8%)
> Total population: 6,968 (West Virginia: 1,807,426)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 55

Wisconsin: Iron County
> Median age (years): 55.6 (Wisconsin: 39.6)
> Population enrolled in college: 3.3% (Wisconsin: 6.4%)
> Population 18 and younger: 15.7% (Wisconsin: 23.6%)
> Population 65 and older: 30.0% (Wisconsin: 16.7%)
> Total population: 5,679 (Wisconsin: 5,806,975)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 72

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Wyoming: Platte County
> Median age (years): 48.8 (Wyoming: 38.0)
> Population enrolled in college: 5.7% (Wyoming: 6.6%)
> Population 18 and younger: 19.3% (Wyoming: 24.9%)
> Population 65 and older: 24.0% (Wyoming: 16.3%)
> Total population: 8,572 (Wyoming: 581,348)
> No. of counties considered in ranking: 23

Methodology

To determine the county or county equivalent with the highest median age in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median age from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

Counties were excluded if median age was not available in the 2020 ACS or if the sampling error associated with a county’s data was deemed too high.

The sampling error was defined as too high if the coefficient of variation — a statistical assessment of how reliable an estimate is — for a county’s median age was above 15% and greater than two standard deviations above the mean CV for all counties’ median ages. We similarly excluded counties that had a sampling error too high for their population, using the same definition.

Counties 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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