The U.S. population is now older than ever before, new national statistics show.
Data from the US Census Bureau showed that the average American will be a record 38.9 years old in 2022 – up from 30 in 1980 and 28 in 1970.
The nation’s rising age is being driven by people living longer and having fewer babies — a trend that many of the world’s brightest minds believe could plunge the country into economic disaster.
Kristie Wilder, a demographer at the Census Bureau, said: ‘As the median age of the country moves closer to 40, you can really see how the aging of baby boomers, and now their children, is affecting the median age.
“The oldest echo boomers (children of baby boomers) are starting to reach or exceed the average age of 38.9 years.”
The US population is now the oldest ever at 38.9 years, the statistics show. More people who put work and education ahead of raising a family are behind the shift
This map shows the median age of Americans by county. As many as a third of all provinces now have a median age above 60 years
She added: “While natural change has been positive nationally, as births have outnumbered deaths, birth rates have gradually declined over the past two decades.
“Without a fast-growing young population, the median age in the US is likely to rise slowly but steadily.”
In its report, the US Census Bureau calculated the median age of Americans for the year 2022, the latest it had available.
The figures were based on data on births and deaths in the past year, where births exceeded deaths, and on figures from the 2020 census.
The median age was 0.2 years higher last year – equivalent to almost three months – compared to the previous 12-month period. Since 2000, it has increased by 3.6 years.
About one-third of states now have a median age greater than 40 years, with Maine leading the way at 44.8 years next to New Hampshire at 43.3 years.
The US population was the youngest in the 1970s, when a post-World War II baby boom dropped the median age to below 30 years.
But it has risen steadily since then with the advent of birth control, changing norms for raising a family and opening up education and work to women.
Improvements in life expectancy amid the discovery of new antibiotics and the development of better health care have further pushed the median age up as more Americans are living longer. However, in recent years this has come to a halt as life expectancy in the US has fallen slightly due to the Covid pandemic.
In 2021, life expectancy saw its biggest year-on-year gain of 0.3 years – which experts say was caused by fewer births than usual as lockdowns put many off starting a family.
The report said no state has seen its median age drop in the past year, though four — Alabama, Maine, Tennessee and West Virginia — saw it remain static.
The youngest states were Utah (31.9 years old), Washington DC (34.8 years old), and Texas (35.5 years old).
Of the more than 3,100 counties in America, Sumter County, Texas, was the oldest at 68.1 years, where part of a retirement home is located.
It was followed by Catron County, New Mexico, at 62.1 years, and Jeff Davis County, Texas, at 61.7 years.
The fastest aging counties were Jasper County, South Carolina, and Blaine County, Idaho, where their age increased by a year in the past year alone.
Seven counties across the country had a median age of less than 30 — two in Utah, one each in North Carolina, Indiana, Georgia and two in Texas. But these were all home to major universities, which may explain the lower ages.
It comes after a separate report earlier this month revealed that a record number of women were now waiting to have children until they were in their 40s.
This map shows the shift in median age during the year between 2020 and 2022 by province. The fastest aging areas were Jasper County, South Carolina and Blaine County, Idaho, where their age increased by a year in the last 12 months alone
The above estimates from OurWorldInData – based in Oxford, UK – show how the average age is rising in all developed countries as more people put off starting a family until later
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the birth rate for women ages 40 to 44 increased by four percent from the previous year in 2022 to an all-time high.
There was also a 12 percent increase in women aged 45 to 49, the first change in this rate since 2015 and an increase to another all-time high.
Experts said the shift was made possible by in vitro fertilization technologies, which allow women in their 20s to freeze eggs for later use.
This has given them the opportunity to focus on their career, travel and social life before starting a family.