The Nation Continues to Grow Older with Median Age Increasing to 38.2 Years

Washington, DC–The nation as a whole continues to grow older with the median age increasing to 38.2 years in 2018, up from 37.2 years in 2010. The pace of this aging is different across race and ethnicity groups, according to new 2018 Population Estimates by demographic characteristics for the nation, states and counties, released on June 20 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

From 2010 to 2018, the U.S. population’s median age increased by 1.0 years. Amongst the different race groups:

  • The white alone-or-in-combination population increased by 1.0 years.
  • The black or African American alone-or-in-combination population grew by 1.4 years.
  • The American Indian and Alaska Native alone-or-in-combination population increased by 2.2 years.
  • The Asian alone-or-in-combination population increased by 1.7 years.
  • The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone-or-in-combination population increased by 2.6 years.
  • The Hispanic (any race) population experienced an increase in median age of 2.2 years.

“The nation is aging — more than 4 out of every 5 counties were older in 2018 than in 2010. This aging is driven in large part by baby boomers crossing over the 65-year-old mark. Now, half of the U.S. population is over the age of 38.2,” said Luke Rogers, the Chief of the Population Estimates Branch at the Census Bureau. “Along with this general aging trend, we also see variation among race and ethnicity groups both in growth patterns and aging.” Rogers also noted that alone-or-in-combination groups overlap and individuals who identify as being two or more races are included in more than one of these race groups.

At the state level, North Dakota was the only state to see a decline in its median age, from 37.0 years in 2010 to 35.2 in 2018. Maine had the largest increase in median age this decade, going from 42.7 years in 2010 to 44.9 years in 2018, making it the state with the highest median age in the country. Utah had the lowest median age in 2018, at 31.0 years.

The share of the population age 65-and-older was 16.0 percent in 2018, growing by 3.2 percent (1,637,270) in the last year. The 65-and-older age group has increased 30.2 percent (12,159,974) since 2010. In contrast, during the same period, the under 18 population decreased by 1.1 percent, or a decline of 782,937 people.

Of the nation’s 3,142 counties, 2,566 (81.7 percent) had a higher median age in 2018 than in 2010. During this period, 16.7 percent (525) had median age decreases and 1.6 percent (51) saw no change. In 2018, out of all counties, 56.2 percent (1,767) had a median age between 40 and 49 years. Among those counties with populations of 20,000 or more in 2017 and 2018, Sumter County, Florida, had the highest median age (67.8) and Madison County, Idaho, had the lowest median age (23.2).