#158 – Inside Our Industry – The Median Age in the U.S. Reaches a Record High

Posted on | Inside Our Industry

Finding workers is not going to get any easier as the median age in the U.S. continues to rise. Click on the link at the bottom to see a map that includes each state’s median age.

The Median Age in the U.S. Reaches a Record High, approaching 40 years old
Emily Peck, Axios Markets, June 22, 2023

America is red, white, blue… and gray. The median age in the U.S. reached a record high last year, rising to 38.9 years, and it’s likely only going up from here, per Census Bureau data out Thursday (June 22, 2023).

Why it matters: Decades of lower birth rates and increasing (until recently) life expectancy means older folks make up an ever larger share of the population.

  • Put another way: The baby boomers and their kids – the millennials or echo boomers – are aging the country.
  • This has all kinds of implications for the economy, particularly in the workforce where the aging population is keeping the labor market tight.
  • The aging workforce could drive worker shortages for years to come, especially in health care, which will become even more crucial as we gray.

By the numbers: 17 states have a median age above 40.

  • Maine has the highest median age in the country at 44.8.
  • Utah, which has a relatively high fertility rate, is the youngest state with a median age of 31.9.
  • In 1980, the median age was 30.

What they’re saying: “As the nation’s median age creeps closer to 40, you can really see how the aging of Baby Boomers, and now their children – sometimes called echo boomers – is impacting the median age,” Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division, said in a statement.

“Without a rapidly growing young population, the U.S. median age will likely continue its slow but steady rise.”

The U.S. is still a younger country than its European peers, as the New York Times points out. “Immigration has historically kept the United States young,” writes Dana Goldstein. “But immigration has slowed in recent years.”