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 major metropolitan areas, the median age is far higher than typical. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metro areas with the oldest population in each state.
It is important to note that in four states – Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – there is only one metro area with available data. As a result, the lone metro area ranks as having the oldest population by default only.
Among the metro areas on this list, the median age of the population ranges from about 34 years to nearly 70. With only a handful of exceptions, the median age in each state’s oldest metro area is higher than the median age across the state as a whole.
Some of the metro areas on this list with the highest median ages are in Sun Belt states, such as Arizona and Florida. Favorable climates make many communities in these states popular destinations for retirees. (Here is a look at what it costs to retire comfortably in every state.)
In many of the metro areas on this list, residents appear to be less likely to be starting or raising a family – as in most 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 oldest metro area in each state
Click here to read our detailed methodology
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