The American population is older today than it has been since record keeping began. The median age in the United States is 38.2, down from 36.9 a decade ago and under 30 in the 1970s.
This trend is the result of several factors – long and short term. For one thing, Americans are now living longer than they have for decades. Driven in part by improved health care, the average life expectancy at birth in the United States is now around 77 years, five years higher than it was in the mid-1970s. More recently, falling birth rates and tougher immigration restrictions — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — have accelerated the aging of the U.S. population.
In some large metropolitan areas, the median age is much higher than average. Using data from the US Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. identified metropolitan areas with the oldest population in each state.
It’s important to note that in four states – Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont – there is only one metropolitan area with data available. As a result, the single metropolitan area is classified as having the oldest population by default only.
Among the metropolitan areas on this list, the median age of the population ranges from about 34 years old to almost 70 years old. With few exceptions, the median age in the oldest metropolitan area in each state is higher than the median age in the state as a whole. together.
Some of the metropolitan areas on this list with the highest median ages are in Sun Belt states, such as Arizona and Florida. Favorable climates make many communities in these states popular destinations for retirees. (Here’s a look at what it costs to retire comfortably in each state.)
In many metro areas on this list, residents seem less likely to start or raise a family – as in most of them the share of households with children under 18 is lower than the comparable share statewide. (Here’s a look at the best and worst states for raising a family.)
Click here to see the oldest metropolitan area in each state
Click here to read our detailed methodology