Baby Boomers are beginning to get up in age, and the result is an overall aging population across the United States. In fact, an estimated 52 million Americans were aged 65 or older according to the Census Bureau's 2018 statistics.
About one-quarter of older Americans live in California, Florida, and Texas - but these are not the states with the oldest average populations. There are many states with smaller general population sizes, which have the oldest population age profiles.
These are the 10 oldest states in the U.S. based on census statistics.
The oldest state in the country, Maine has an average age of 44.9 years, a number that has remained fairly stable over the past five years. Like New Hampshire, the state saw an influx in migration during the 1970s that has now resulted in Maine's older age group being higher than the national average. Of about 1.34 million citizens, more than 309,000 were more than 65 years old in 2018.
2. New Hampshire
In New Hampshire the average age is 43 years, largely due to a boom in population by about 60% in the 1970s - migration that then slowed to a trickle in future years. The population was mainly boosted by Baby Boomers at the time, and it is that group now tipping the scale toward an older median age. The workforce is feeling the brunt of the age crunch as retiring employees have fewer younger workers to take their place.
Vermont is well-known as an older state with a population getting older by the year, with a current average age of 42.8. More than 18% of the state's population is over 65 years old, which has grown continuously since the early 1990s when it aligned more with the national average.
4. West Virginia
West Virginia saw relatively healthy population growth near the beginning of the millennium, but was expected to begin declining in 2016 with an overall loss of almost 20,000 residents by 2030. The main reason would be fewer births than deaths, and that stems largely from an average age of 42.7 in the state.
It may come as a surprise to some that Florida is not the top of the list for aging populations, as the number of retired residents has been on the rise for some time. The mean age increased drastically between 1970 and 2010, and now hovers around 42.2 years. There's not expected to be much change in future years - it's anticipated the state will age continually over the next quarter of a century.
With an average age of 41, Connecticut finds itself on the list as one of the fastest-aging populations in the States. The shift is primarily due to a near-zero rate of migration and relatively low but stable birth rates. Some towns in the state are getting younger, but the overall population of Connecticut continues to rise in age - particularly communities like Bridgewaterm Washington, Sharon and Salisbury.
Like the rest of the country, the population of Pennsylvania continues to rise in age with nearly one-third of its residents being 55 years or older after a census conducted in 2017. The average age in Pennsylvania sits at 40.8 mainly due to the older group of adults increasing while statistics show a decline in younger age groups because people are having fewer children and others are moving out of the state for education and employment opportunities. The issue has prompted Pennsylvania to design the State Plan on Aging, which defines an approach to respond to the trend and address how the state can continue to manage its budgets and infrastructure with an aging population.
Delawareans can expect only one age group to grow exponentially over the coming decades, and that is its 65-plus demographic. In 2015, the population of Delaware was expected to increase by about 60% from 2015 to 2050, moving from 159,000 to 263,532. It's causing some concern for decision-makers in the state, as it relies heavily on personal income taxes but the number of working adults will be on the decline as Delaware's seniors begin to retire - especially with the average age of the population currently sitting at 40.7 years.
9. Rhode Island
It is estimated by 2030 more than 100,000 of Rhode Island residents will be age 65 or older, which would account for about one in four. The increasingly aging average age of its citizens (40.1 years) is natural, as the state's growth rate has slowed while the population ages.
10. New Jersey
In New Jersey the total population is about 8.9 million people in 2020, and the state's average age is 40. Part of the reason for this is a generally lower number of younger residents, which has historically been on the decline. In 2010, the number of young people had decreased by 1.1% over numbers in 2000.
States With The Oldest Population
|Rank||State, federal district, or territory||Median age in years (Total Population)|
|51||District of Columbia||34.0|
About the Author
Krista Conrad is an award-winning Canadian journalist and creative writer with a BA in English and diploma of Journalism Arts. She loves storytelling and delving into research, particularly in areas of social, historical, environmental and human interest. A busy mom of five, she lives for family and creativity, and enjoys bringing stories and facts to life with firm belief in the power of the written word.
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