US States with Oldest Populations

8 US States with Oldest Populations

The median age in the United States is growing rapidly as the baby boomers reach their 60s and 70s. According to the Census Bureau’s 2020 population estimation, more than 55 million Americans were aged 65 or older. That is about 16.9 percent of the total population.

In 2011, the first baby boomers reached 65 years. During the following decade, the 65-and-older population in the US grew by 34.2%. The national median age in 2010 was 37.2 years; currently, it is 38.5 years.

25% of the 65+ population live in three American states- California, Texas, and Florida. Another quarter lives in seven other states- New York, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. 

However, this not necessarily means that these states have the oldest population age profiles. California has the highest number of older individuals, but only 15% of its population is 65 and older. 

Here, we list the 8 US states that have the oldest populations. We compile the list based on the most recent available data released by the United States Census Bureau (2020 census). 

8. Pennsylvania

Median age: 40.9
Percentage of population over age 65: 19%
Population estimates: 12,964,056

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During the last decade, Pennsylvania has seen a sharp increase in the number of residents who are 60 years or older. Declining immigration and falling fertility are two of the key reasons for this state to have a higher median age. 

The state has been witnessing a steep decline in manufacturing employment during the last few decades. On the one hand, it has increased out-migration; on the other, immigration has almost stalled. 

While many states in the West and South are gaining population, in the states like Pennsylvania, the population growth is sluggish. All these factors together make Pennsylvania one of the oldest US states in terms of median age.  

Did You Know?

Pennsylvania is one of the five slowest-growing states in the US.  

7. Connecticut

Median age: 41.2
Percentage of population over age 65: 18%
Population estimates: 3,605,597

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Connecticut is the 7th oldest state in the US in terms of median age. One-fourth of the residents of the state are 50 years or older. 

One of the key reasons that Connecticut is aging so rapidly is domestic outmigration. The state is losing its younger population to the West at an alarming rate. The outmigration has also impacted the overall population size of the state. Experts believe that outmigration can be slowed down by improving the housing and employment opportunities in the state.

A higher share of baby boomers is another reason that sets the median age so high in this state.  

Did You Know?

Connecticut has the most diverse older population in New England

6. Delaware

Median age: 41.4
Percentage of population over age 65: 20.1
Population estimates: 1,003,384

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The median age in Delaware is slightly higher than in Connecticut, and that makes it the sixth oldest state in the US in terms of median age. Delaware is a popular destination for senior citizens and the older generation. The friendly tax climate and relatively low cost of living attract retirees and senior citizens to this state. On the other hand, the state failed to attract and hold on to the millennials. 

As a result, the aging in this state is accelerating. It is projected that by 2050, the 65-and-over residents will become the second-largest age demographic in the state, right behind the age group of 30 to 64 years. The state’s death rate will surpass the birth rate by the year 2030. 

Did You Know?

Delaware is called the First state because it was the first of the 13 original states to ratify the US constitution on December 7, 1787.

5. Florida

Median age: 42.7 years
Percentage of population over age 65: 21.1
Population estimates: 21,781,128

Floridaphoto source:

The south-easternmost state of the nation is one of the oldest states in the nation both in terms of median age and percentage of 65+ years population. The state has been seeing a consistent upward trend in median age for more than five decades. The median age in Florida was estimated at 32 years in the 1970 census, and 50 years later, it is 42.2 years.

The warm weather and relatively lower living cost in Florida attract retirees and older people. Some retirees spend the winter in the state to avoid the harsh weather of their home states. Eventually, many end up buying properties in Florida and relocating permanently. The influx of retirees is one of the key causes that increase the median age. 

Did You Know?

Sumter county in Florida has the oldest population in the entire nation. The median age for this county is estimated at 68 years. This county also has a higher share of the 65-and-over population (61.8) than any other county in the country.  

4. West Virginia

Median age: 42.7
Percentage of population over age 65: 20.7
Population estimates: 1,782,959

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Two decades back, in the 2000 census, West Virginia was ranked first in the country in terms of median age. However, according to recent data, three other states have outranked West Virginia.

Like many other states on this list, this state suffers from changing demographics where the death rate outpaces the birth. Outmigration is one of the key concerns in West Virginia. 

The 2020 census data showed that in ten years, the population in West Virginia dropped by 3.2% (about 59,000 people). It was the highest percentage of population loss compared to any other state in the country. 

Lack of job opportunities, lower pay rate, declining economy, unfavorable political climate, and poor cell phone and internet service are some of the key reasons for such a higher rate of outmigration. 

Did You Know?

West Virginia has introduced Ascend WV Remote Work Program for the workers who work from home. The program aims to encourage remote workers to relocate to the mountains of West Virginia. It is the state’s attempt to rejuvenate the population of the state. Workers entering the state through this program get $12,000 cash and free access to outdoor recreation for a whole year. 

3. Vermont

Median age: 43.0 years
Percentage of population over age 65: 20.6
Population estimates: 643,077

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Green Mountain’s state is well-known for its higher share of older residents, and the state is getting older each year. The low birth rate is one of the key reasons for the higher median age of the population. 

Vermont is a predominantly white state. 93.6 percent of the state’s population are whites. Experts believe this to be a major contributing factor impacting the birth rate. Asians account for 1.62% of the population in Vermont, and African Americans account for 1.28%. The birth rate is usually high among the Asian, Hispanic, and African American populations than the whites. Had it been more racially diverse, the aging crisis would hit the state so badly. 

Did You Know?

The Vermont Republic, an independent state that existed between 1777 and 1791, was the first state to abolish slavery.     

2. New Hampshire

Median age: 43.1 years
Percentage of population over age 65: 19.3%
Population estimates: 1,377,529

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New Hampshire is ranked second in the country in terms of its residents’ median age. The reason for being one of the oldest states for New Hampshire is similar to the neighboring Vermont and Maine. 

The state’s strong economy and ease of life led to a population boom in the 1970s and 1980s. However, after that period, the migration slowed and then almost stopped. Besides, the baby boomers began to move back to the state during the last decade. All these factors together pushed up the median age and dramatically unbalanced the age demographics of the state.

Did You Know?

According to the estimates released by the U.S Census Bureau, by the year 2030, 26.3 of New Hampshire’s population will 60-and-older.  

1. Maine

Median age: 45 years
Percentage of population over age 65: 21.8
Population estimates: 1,372,247

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The state in the US with the oldest population is Maine. The state has the highest median age as well as the highest share of older residents than any other US state.

Maine has long been known for being the country’s oldest state. The number of older people is increasing rapidly in the state. Experts believe that if the trend follows, it will create skill gaps. The state will suffer economic loss with a fewer number of available workers. 

A high percentage of baby boomers is one of the key reasons for this state to have a higher median age. It is directly related to the low birth rate. Outmigration of the younger generation is another issue that increases the median age. It is estimated that by 2026, 55% of Maine’s population will be 65 and older

Did You Know?

In June 2022, Maine created a “Cabinet for Aging”. The cabinet is responsible for implementing policies so that the older residents can age comfortably. It will prepare the state to be equipped for demographic changes that, in turn, will impact the workforce and healthcare.    

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