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America May Be Aging, but Millennials Are Taking Over

The median age in the United States has risen from 35.3 years old in 2000 to 37.9 years old in 2016, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Baby boomers — Americans born between 1946 and 1964 — are responsible for the increase as boomers began reaching the age of 65 in 2011. As more boomers reach that age, the median will continue to rise.

In terms of sheer numbers, however, the boomers have already lost their dominance, as millennials — Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 — now account for eight of the 10 most common ages.

According to Census Bureau data, there were about 62 million millennials in the U.S. population in 2010 and more than 80 million boomers. In 2015, there were nearly 65 million millennials and about 70 million boomers.

Bill McBride, at the Calculated Risk housing blog, noted that just seven years ago, in 2010, boomers dominated the list of most common ages, with seven of the 10 most common ages. Here’s McBride’s list of the top 10 ages in both 2010 and 2016:

  1. 2010: most common age, 50; 2016: most common age, 25
  2. 2010: most common age, 49; 2016: most common age, 26
  3. 2010: most common age, 20; 2016: most common age, 24
  4. 2010: most common age, 190; 2016: most common age, 23
  5. 2010: most common age, 47; 2016: most common age, 27
  6. 2010: most common age, 46; 2016: most common age, 22
  7. 2010: most common age, 48; 2016: most common age, 55
  8. 2010: most common age, 51; 2016: most common age, 28
  9. 2010: most common age, 18; 2016: most common age, 21
  10. 2010: most common age, 52; 2016: most common age, 55

According to the Census Bureau’s new report, 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%) of the nation’s counties experienced an increase in median age last year. In 2016, two counties had median ages over 60: Sumter, Florida, (67.1 years) and Catron, New Mexico, (60.5 years).

See the Census Bureau website for more data on race and ethnicity changes and other details on the U.S. population.