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The United States is a vast place, and every region is markedly different.
Usually we look at these differences through lenses like geography, population density, preferences, wealth, and culture – but age is another interesting one to think about, and age is a significant factor in predicting future economic health and growth for almost any society.
THE AGE FACTOR
As the French philosopher Auguste Comte wrote, “Demography is destiny”.
If you know a person’s age, you’re usually able to guess other things about them. For example, younger people are usually more motivated and inclined to launch careers, start families, and seek economic security. Not all young people are this way of course – but in aggregate, this is generally true.
Today’s map comes to us from Reddit user /r/JFBoyy and it charts median age by every U.S. county, parish, borough, and Census Area.
COUNTIES BY AGE
Which states and counties stand out on the map?
Utah is an interesting place to start – it’s the youngest state with a median age of 29.9, and this is extremely clear when looking at the county level. The state has only one county (Daggett) with a median age range above 35-44 years.
Florida and Maine are two other states that stand out. Florida is the stereotypical “old” state, and there is some truth to that based on the numbers. It’s the only state that has a county (Sumter) with a median age range over 65 years. Meanwhile, Maine has only five counties that are not “old” counties – and the majority of counties have median ages that fall in the 45-54 range.
The Midwest and Southeast seem to have a higher distribution of counties with median ages in the “middle ground” 35-44 median age range. Alabama has 67 counties, and all but five of them are in that bracket.
Meanwhile, the West seems to have an interesting dichotomy in many of its states. Washington State, for example, has many counties with old populations (San Juan, Jefferson, and others) but also counties with younger populations (Whitman, Yakima, Kittitas).
Idaho is the most potent example of this tendency: all of the old people seem to live in the north of the state, and all of the young people in the south.
A LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Here is how median age projects out to 2040, but on a state level.
Overall the national median age is projected to go from 37.7 to 39 years.
Interestingly, while aging in the United States is expected to cause some demographic issues in the long run, the country’s challenges pale in comparison to other rapidly-aging countries in the Western world.