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The United States has aged faster in the last decade.
New figures from the latest census show that the proportion of residents aged 65 and over increased by more than a third from 2010 to 2020, the fastest increase in 130 years, while the proportion of children declined. bottom.
The 2020 headcount figures released Thursday showed a particularly notable drop in the proportion of children under the age of five. Taken together, these trends mean that the U.S. median age jumped from 37.2 to 38.8 in her decade.
America’s two largest age groups have driven change. There are baby boomers who are over 65 and millennials who have grown up or pushed further from their 20s into their early 30s. Also, the number of children born between 2010 and 2020 fell, according to figures from the once-decade population of all US residents. Experts attribute the decline to women delaying childbearing until later in life to focus on their education and careers, and the fertility rate did not recover after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. pointed out.
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“In the short term, the work-family balance crisis, lack of affordable childcare, and stress related to health care, housing and job security all increase uncertainty and make fertility decisions difficult. It lowers the fertility rate, and raises the children,” said Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland.
An aging population has important social and economic implications, such as the ability of working-age adults to support older adults through Social Security and Medicare contributions. The Census Bureau calculates the dependency ratio, defined as the number of children plus the number of seniors per 100 working-age population. From 2010 to 2020, the dependency rate among children decreased, but the dependency rate among the elderly increased by 6.8 people.
The number of people aged 100 and over, the top age group, has halved from over 53,000 to over 80,000. Thanks to a century of vaccines, antibiotics, better surgical procedures, and better treatments for disease, the percentage of men living into old age has also skyrocketed, said Thomas Perls, a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine.
“Many more people who have genetic makeup and environmental exposures that increase their chances of turning 100, but who would otherwise have died from problems that are now easily reversible, are destined to survive. We can do that,” Perls said.
The Census Bureau will release two initial data sets from the 2020 Census in 2021. One is the state population figure used to determine the number of seats each state wins in the House of Representatives, and the other is the re-election district figure used to draw political districts. Thursday’s data release introduces pandemic-related information-gathering difficulties and a new and controversial privacy-preserving method that uses algorithms to add deliberate errors to obscure the identities of certain respondents. Delayed by almost two years due to Census Bureau efforts.
The census, the first since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, found that same-sex couples made up 1.7% of married couple households. The census did not ask about sexual orientation, so LGBTQ+ people who were single or not living with a partner or spouse were excluded from the survey.
Median age varies greatly by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic whites were the oldest cohort, with a median age of 44.5 years. Hispanics were the youngest, with an average age of 30. And a quarter of all children in the United States were Hispanic. The median age of non-Hispanic black Americans was 35.5 years. Among Asians, the figure was 37.2.
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Utah, which has the largest Mormon population in the United States, is the youngest state with a median age of 31.3 years, and has one of the highest birth rates in the nation. With an average age of 33.9 for her in the District of Columbia, he was a close second, as urban areas are more likely to have young adults of working age. North Dakota was the only state whose median age fell from 37 to 35.8 due to an influx of young people coming to work in the burgeoning energy sector.
Maine is the oldest state in the United States, with an average age of 45.1 as baby boomers age and leave the workforce. The median age in Puerto Rico was similar at 45.2 years, as working-age adults left the island following a series of hurricanes and government missteps. In her four states of Florida, Maine, Vermont, and West Virginia, seniors make up more than one-fifth of her state’s population.
Sumter County, Florida, home to ‘The Villages’, a fast-growing retirement community, had the highest median age of any U.S. county at 68.5 years. Utah County, home to Provo University of Utah and Brigham Young University, had the lowest score of 25.9.
One of the youngest baby boomers, Chris Stanley, 59, already lives in The Village. She said her mission in her later years was to let her younger generation know that they could influence change, even if they probably didn’t have the same financial opportunities as she did.
“I want to convey the sense of urgency that I feel,” she said. “They could improve it.”
In 2020, 16.8% of the 331 million U.S. residents were over the age of 65, a percentage still significantly lower than in countries such as Japan, Italy and Greece. more than a quarter of the population. But their share of the U.S. population will continue to grow as the baby boomers age.
“Over the long term, immigration is the only way the United States will avoid population decline,” Cohen said.
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