Special Report

American Cities With the Youngest Populations

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. cities – defined as places with at least 25,000 residents – with the youngest populations. 

Among the places on this list, the median age of the population ranges from about 26 years to just 14. The cities on this list span the country, though Utah is home to eight, the most of any state. 

Most of these cities are college towns, home to universities or colleges. These places include Blacksburg, Virginia; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Ithaca, New York; and State College, Pennsylvania. In 30 of the cities on this list, over one-third of the population are enrolled in college, compared to less than 7% of the U.S. population.

Some other places on this list – including Jacksonville, North Carolina and Twentynine Palms, California – are home to 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.)

Several of these cities are also home to a relatively large number of families raising children. In over half a dozen cities on this list, more than 50% of households include children under age 18. These places include Eagle Mountain, Utah, a master-planned, family oriented community outside of Provo and nearby Saratoga Springs, Utah. (Here is a look at the best and worst states to raise a family.)

Click here to see 50 U.S. cities with the youngest populations. 

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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