by Brett Rowland
The median age of Americans is getting closer and closer to 40 years.
The median age in the United States increased by 0.2 years to 38.9 years between 2021 and 2022, according to Vintage 2022 Population Estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“As the nation’s median age creeps closer to 40, you can really see how the aging of baby boomers, and now their children – sometimes called echo boomers – is impacting the median age. The eldest of the echo boomers have started to reach or exceed the nation’s median age of 38.9,” said Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “While natural change nationally has been positive, as there have been more births than deaths, birth rates have gradually declined over the past two decades. Without a rapidly growing young population, the U.S. median age will likely continue its slow but steady rise.”
Some states have already passed the four-decade median mark. At 44.8, Maine has the highest median age in the nation. Maine is followed by New Hampshire at 43.3. In all, 17 U.S. states – a third of the total – had a median age above 40 in 2022, according to the Vintage 2022 Population Estimates.
At the other end of the spectrum, the states with the lowest median ages were Utah (31.9), the District of Columbia (34.8) and Texas (35.5).
At the county-level, the range was more significant. The median age of the nation’s 3,144 counties spanned from 20.9 to 68.1 in 2022, according to the Vintage 2022 Population Estimates.
Seven counties had median ages at or above 60 in 2022. They were Highland County, Virginia (60.0); Charlotte County, Florida (60.2); Jefferson County, Washington (60.4); Harding County, New Mexico (60.5); Jeff Davis County, Texas (61.7); Catron County, New Mexico (62.1); and Sumter County, Florida (68.1).
In counties with populations of at least 100,000, several of the oldest were in Florida, including Sumter County (68.1). Sumter County, which is home to a large retirement community, has long been the nation’s oldest. Others include Citrus County (57), Sarasota County (57.5), and Charlotte County (60.2).
The youngest counties were often the homes of large colleges and universities. Seven counties among those with resident populations of at least 100,000 had a median age below 30: Utah County, Utah (25.7); Cache County, Utah (25.8); Onslow County, North Carolina (27.6); Tippecanoe County, Indiana (28.8); Clarke County, Georgia (29.1); and Brazos (26.7) and Webb (29.8) counties in Texas.
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Brett Rowland is an award-winning journalist who has worked as an editor and reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He is an investigative reporter for The Center Square.