The United States Is Older Than Ever Before

The median age of the U.S. population rose to a record high of 38.9 in 2022, primarily because birth rates have declined in recent decades. More women have been going to college and focusing on building careers in their 20s, causing many to marry older and have fewer children.

About one-third of states now have a median age above 40. Maine is the oldest state (44.8), followed by New Hampshire (43.3). Utah (31.9), the District of Columbia (34.8), and Texas (35.5) have the youngest median ages in the nation. The United States is not the only graying society, nor the oldest: the median age in Europe is 44.

U.S. Median Age

About one-third of states now have a median age above 40. In 1980, the U.S. had a median age of 30; in 2000, it was 35; in 2022, it was 38.9.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2023; The New York Times, June 22, 2023

Even so, this demographic trend has implications for the U.S. workforce, economic growth, and government programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which are funded with payroll taxes. As baby boomers continue to age into retirement, there are simply fewer workers to support the growing number of retired beneficiaries.