JUNE 25, 2020 — The U.S. Census Bureau today released estimates showing the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The 65-and-older population grew by over a third (34.2% or 13,787,044) during the past decade, and by 3.2% (1,688,924) from 2018 to 2019. The growth of this population contributed to an increase in the national median age from 37.2 years in 2010 to 38.4 in 2019, according to the Census Bureau’s 2019 Population Estimates.
“The first Baby Boomers reached 65 years old in 2011,” said Dr. Luke Rogers, chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Branch. “Since then, there’s been a rapid increase in the size of the 65-and-older population, which grew by over a third since 2010. No other age group saw such a fast increase. In fact, the under-18 population was smaller in 2019 than it was in 2010, in part due to lower fertility in the United States.”
In 2019, over half (29) of the states had a median age older than 38.4 years, including all nine states in the Northeast. Eleven states were in the South, six were in the Midwest, and three were in the West. Since 2010, the nation’s under-18 population declined by 1.5%, from 74,182,279 to 73,039,150.
In 2019, one in five people in Maine, Florida, West Virginia and Vermont were age 65 or older. Maine had the largest share (21.2%) of population in that age group, followed by Florida (20.9%), West Virginia (20.5%) and Vermont (20.0%). Utah had the lowest percentage (11.4%) of population age 65 and older followed by Washington, D.C. (12.4%), and Alaska (12.5%). Utah also had the lowest median age (31.3 years) in 2019, up 2.1 years from 29.2 in 2010. North Dakota was the only state whose median age declined (1.7 years) between 2010 and 2019. In 2019, North Dakota’s median age was 35.3 years.
Of the 3,142 counties in the United States in 2019, 57.3% (1,799) had a median age between 40.0 and 49.9 years; 34.2% (1,076) had a median age between 30 and 39.9; 6.8% (215) had a median age 50 or older; and 1.7% (52) had a median age younger than 30 years. Between 2010 and 2019, the median age increased in 83.2% (2,614) of counties. During this period, the median age dropped in 15.9% (500) of counties and stayed the same in 28 or 0.9% of counties. In 2019, Sumter County, Florida, had the highest median age (68.1 years), and Madison County, Idaho, had the lowest median age (23.3 years).
As the nation has continued to gray, it has also grown more racially and ethnically diverse. References below to the race and ethnicity compositions are for race-alone-or-in-combination groups or Hispanics of any race unless otherwise specified.
For additional information about population changes by age and for each race or Hispanic origin group, view our detailed tables. This is the last release of the 2019 population estimates. Previous estimates included national, county, metro area, city and town total population and components of change. Visit population projections for information on how the national population is projected to change through 2060.
Unless otherwise specified, the statistics refer to the population who reported a race alone or in combination with one or more races. Censuses and surveys permit respondents to select more than one race; consequently, people may be one race or a combination of races. The detailed tables show statistics for the resident population by "race alone" and "race alone or in combination." The sum of the populations for the five race-alone-or-in-combination groups adds to more than the total population because individuals may report more than one race. The federal government treats Hispanic origin and race as separate and distinct concepts. In surveys and censuses, separate questions are asked on Hispanic origin and race. The question on Hispanic origin asks respondents if they are of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.
Starting with the 2000 Census, the question on race asked respondents to report the race or races they consider themselves to be. Hispanics may be of any race. Responses of "some other race" from the 2010 Census are modified in these estimates. This results in differences between the population for specific race categories for the modified 2010 Census population versus those in the 2010 Census data.