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The Nation’s Older Population Is Still Growing, Census Bureau Reports

The nation’s population has a distinctly older age profile than it did 16 years ago, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today.

New detailed estimates show the nation’s median age — the age where half of the population is younger and the other half older — rose from 35.3 years on April 1, 2000, to 37.9 years on July 1, 2016.

“The baby-boom generation is largely responsible for this trend,” said Peter Borsella, a demographer in the Population Division. “Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011 and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

Residents age 65 and over grew from 35.0 million in 2000, to 49.2 million in 2016, accounting for 12.4 percent and 15.2 percent of the total population, respectively.

These latest estimates present changes among groups by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin at the national, state and county levels between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2016. The estimates also present changes over the same period among groups by age and sex for Puerto Rico and its municipios.

The median age is increasing in most areas of the country.

Every state experienced either an increase or had the same median age as a year earlier. At 44.6 years, the median age in Maine is the highest in the nation. New Hampshire’s median age of 43.0 years is the next highest, followed by Vermont at 42.7 years. Utah had the lowest median age (30.8 years), followed by Alaska (33.9 years) and the District of Columbia (33.9 years).

Two-thirds (66.7 percent) of the nation’s counties experienced an increase in median age last year. In 2016, two counties had median ages over 60: Sumter, Fla. (67.1 years), and Catron, N.M. (60.5 years).

Between 2000 and 2016, 95.2 percent of all counties experienced increases in median age, which can be seen in the graphic.

Sumter, Fla., home to a large retirement community, was the county with the highest median age, and it also showed the highest median age increase. Sumter’s median age jumped from 49.2 years in 2000 to 67.1 years in 2016, an increase of 17.9 years. Noble, Ohio, is a small county in the southeastern part of the state. It has experienced net outmigration and deaths nearly equal births. Noble’s 2016 median age of 51.5 years is 16 years higher than what it was in 2000 (35.5 years). Since 2000, 56 counties showed a median age increase of 10 years or more.

The population continues to be more diverse.

Nationally, all race and ethnic groups grew between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016. Throughout the release references to race groups indicate people who would be included in that group alone or in combination with any other race group, unless otherwise noted.

  • The Hispanic population (including all races) grew by 2.0 percent to 57.5 million.
  • The Asian population grew by 3.0 percent to 21.4 million.
  • The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population grew by 2.1 percent to 1.5 million.
  • The American Indian and Alaska Native population grew by 1.4 percent to 6.7 million.
  • The black or African-American population grew by 1.2 percent to 46.8 million.
  • The white population grew by 0.5 percent to 256.0 million.
  • Those who identified as being of two or more races grew by 3.0 percent to 8.5 million.
  • The non-Hispanic white alone population grew by 5,000 people, remaining at 198.0 million.

Deaths continued to exceed births for the non-Hispanic white alone group.

While all other groups experienced natural increase (having more births than deaths) between 2015 and 2016, the non-Hispanic white alone group experienced a natural decrease of 163,300 nationally.

Thursday, June 22, 2017