Getting Older, County by County

[imgbelt img=averagemedianage0010.gif]The median age of most every U.S. county is growing older. But rural counties have the oldest median age — and the gap between rural and urban counties is growing.


[img:MedAgeDifference528.jpg] [source]Southern Rural Development Center

The map shows the change in median age in all U.S. counties between 2000 and 2010. To see a bigger version, click on the map

Counties whose median age declined or increased by less than two years between 2000 and 2010 are highlighted in the map as light blue. California, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas had a significant number of light blue counties.

Counties in dark blue experienced an increase in their median age in the range of four years up to 13 years between 2000 and 2010. Dark blue pockets are most visible in such states as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Michigan.

The table below shows the top 25 “oldest” counties in the nation in descending order based on their 2010 median age. Sumter County in Florida had a median age of 62.7 years in 2010 up from 49.2 in 2000. One of the largest retirement communities in the nation is located in Sumter County.

Note that the majority of “grayer” counties (24 of the 25 counties) are rural or have small cities.


On the other hand, the table below showcases the top 25 “youngest” counties in the nation in descending order based on their 2010 median age. Wade Hampton in Alaska was the “youngest” county in the nation in 2010 with a median age of 21.9 (up from 20.0 in 2000).

Only 8 of the 25 counties are rural; 10 are small city counties; and the rest are metropolitan counties.  [img:youngestcounties.gif]

Roberto Gallardo is a Assistant Extension Professor and Community & Economic Development Specialist at Mississippi State University’s Southern Rural Development. Bo Beaulieu is director of the Southern Rural Development Center. Monica Rosas is a Research Associate at the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State.