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Half of Americans are now over the age of 38

Alex Tanzi and Shelly Hagan

Bloomberg

 /  Fri, June 21, 2019  /  03:05 am
Half of Americans are now over the age of 38

Rear view of aged businessman making report to partners at conference (Shutterstock/Pressmaster)

The graying of America continues.

The national median age rose to 38.2 years last year, according to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That suggests half of the U.S. population is more than 38-years-old and half is younger. By gender, the median for woman is 39.5 while for men its 36.9 years.

The aging of America is widespread with 49 of 50 states showing an uptick in older residents. North Dakota was the only state to see a decline in its median age, from 37 years in 2010 to 35.2 in 2018.

“This aging (phenomenon) is driven in large part by baby boomers crossing over the 65-year-old mark,” said Luke Rogers, the Chief of the Population Estimates Branch at the Census Bureau.

A decline in birth rates is another reason. The number of U.S. births fell to lowest level in 32 years in 2018.

There were less than 3.9 million babies under age 1 as of July 1, 2018. This represents the smallest age cohort until age 64. The largest age cohort is 27-year-olds, making up 4.8 million of the population.

The number of Americans age 80 and older reached a record 12.7 million last year -- up from 11.2 million from the 2010 Census. The 1.4 million growth is roughly equivalent to the population of Phoenix.

By region, the average age inched up to 40 in the Northeast. Among Northeastern states, only Massachusetts and New York are younger. Maine is the oldest state at 44.9 years -- almost 10 years older than North Dakota. The median age crossed the 40-year-old threshold in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware for the first time last year. Utah is the youngest state with a 31 year-old median age.

Narrowing in on smaller pockets of population, Florida’s Sumter County has the highest median age of 67.8. The county is home to a popular retirement community known as The Villages.

Despite an increase in the overall population of 18.4 million since the 2010 Census, some age cohorts shrunk, particularly 40-year-olds as a group.

Age differs not only by region but also by race. The median age for Native Hawaiian and pacific islanders increased the most by 2.6 years in the eight-year period. The white population grew older by 1 year, the lowest of all races tracked by the Census.

The U.S. resident population is expected to cross the 330 million mark around December of this year.

Read also: In historic first, G20 weighs aging as global risk

Key insights:

Hispanic population growth, among counties with populations of 20,000 or more, increased the fastest in Liberty County, Texas: 2,369 people from 2017 to 2018

Hispanic population was the largest in Los Angeles County, California, with a population of 4.9 million in 2018

Black or African American population growth, among counties with populations of 20,000 or more, increased the fastest in Ellis County, Texas: 1,799 people from 2017 to 2018

Cook County, Illinois, had the largest black or African American population - about 1.3 million in 2018

Asian population growth, among counties with populations of 20,000 or more, increased the fastest in Forsyth County, Georgia: 2,219 people from 2017 to 2018

Los Angeles County, California, had the largest Asian population in 2018 - slightly more than 1.7 million in 2018

American Indian and Alaska Native population growth, among counties with populations of 20,000 or more, increased the fastest in Clark County, Nevada: 1,690 people from 2017 to 2018

Los Angeles County, California also the had the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2018 at 231,340

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population growth, among counties with populations of 20,000 or more, increased the fastest in Pierce County, Washington: 1,085 people from 2017 to 2018

Honolulu County, Hawaii, had the largest Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population at 245,043 people in 2018

White population growth, among counties with populations of 20,000 or more, increased the fastest in Williams County, North Dakota: 1,596 people from 2017 to 2018

Los Angeles County, California, had the largest white population, at 7.4 million in 2018

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