JUNE 20, 2019 — 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 today 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 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).
As the nation continues to grow older, it is also changing by race and ethnicity. View our graphic on the age and race distribution from 2010 to 2018 to see how the nation has grown more diverse. References below to the race and ethnicity compositions are for race-alone-or-in-combination groups or Hispanic (any race) unless otherwise specified.
For additional information about population changes by age and for each race or ethnic group, view our detailed tables. This is the last release of the population estimates for 2018. Previous estimates included national, county, metro area, city and town population estimates. These estimates are as of July 1, 2018, and therefore do not reflect the effects of Hurricane Florence in September 2018, Hurricane Michael in October 2018, and the California Wildfires. 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.