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Elderly population in U.S. by state

Profile picture of Kathryn Parkman
by Kathryn Parkman ConsumerAffairs Research Team
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According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimates:

  • Over 50 million senior citizens live in the U.S., making up 16.5% of the total population.
  • Florida has the highest percentage of senior citizens (21%), followed by Maine (20%).
  • Utah has the lowest percentage of senior citizens (10.8%), followed by Alaska (11.1%).
  • California is home to the largest total population of senior citizens (over 5.4 million), followed by Florida (4.2 million).

As baby boomers age, state populations are seeing an increase in residents over 65. The states experiencing the highest growth rates among senior populations since estimates from 2010 to 2014 are Vermont (3.1%), Maine (3%), Delaware (2.8%) and New Hampshire (2.8%).

Ratio of elderly by state

Currently, Florida and Maine have the highest percentage of senior citizens. Alaska and Utah have the lowest.

Vermont, Maine, Delaware and New Hampshire saw the highest rates of growth among their senior populations since the estimates from 2010 to 2014.

StateTotal populationPercentage over 65
Florida20,901,63620.1%
Maine1,335,49220%
West Virginia1,817,30519.4%
Vermont624,31318.8%
Delaware957,24818.2%
Montana1,050,64918.2%
Pennsylvania12,791,53017.8%
Hawaii1,422,09417.8%
New Hampshire1,348,12417.5%
South Carolina5,020,80617.2%
Oregon4,129,80317.2%
Arizona7,050,29917.1%
New Mexico2,092,45416.9%
Rhode Island1,057,23116.8%
Connecticut3,575,07416.8%
Iowa3,139,50816.7%
Michigan9,965,26516.7%
Ohio11,655,39716.7%
Arkansas2,999,37016.6%
Alabama4,876,25016.5%
Missouri6,104,91016.5%
Wisconsin5,790,71616.5%
South Dakota870,63816.3%
Massachusetts6,850,55316.2%
New York19,572,31916.1%
Tennessee6,709,35616%
Kentucky4,449,05216%
New Jersey8,878,50315.9%
North Carolina10,264,87615.9%
Wyoming581,02415.7%
Mississippi2,984,41815.4%
Kansas2,910,65215.4%
Minnesota5,563,37815.4%
Idaho1,717,75015.4%
Nevada2,972,38215.4%
Nebraska1,914,57115.4%
Indiana6,665,70315.4%
Oklahoma3,932,87015.3%
Illinois12,770,63115.2%
Washington7,404,10715.1%
Virginia8,454,46315%
Maryland6,018,84815%
Louisiana4,664,36215%
North Dakota756,71714.9%
California39,283,49714%
Colorado5,610,34913.8%
Georgia10,403,84713.5%
Texas28,260,85612.3%
District of Columbia692,68312.1%
Alaska737,06811.2%
Utah3,096,84810.8%
Total population20,901,6361,335,4921,817,305624,313957,2481,050,64912,791,5301,422,0941,348,1245,020,8064,129,8037,050,2992,092,4541,057,2313,575,0743,139,5089,965,26511,655,3972,999,3704,876,2506,104,9105,790,716870,6386,850,55319,572,3196,709,3564,449,0528,878,50310,264,876581,0242,984,4182,910,6525,563,3781,717,7502,972,3821,914,5716,665,7033,932,87012,770,6317,404,1078,454,4636,018,8484,664,362756,71739,283,4975,610,34910,403,84728,260,856692,683737,0683,096,848
Percentage over 6520.1%20%19.4%18.8%18.2%18.2%17.8%17.8%17.5%17.2%17.2%17.1%16.9%16.8%16.8%16.7%16.7%16.7%16.6%16.5%16.5%16.5%16.3%16.2%16.1%16%16%15.9%15.9%15.7%15.4%15.4%15.4%15.4%15.4%15.4%15.4%15.3%15.2%15.1%15%15%15%14.9%14%13.8%13.5%12.3%12.1%11.2%10.8%

Elderly population by state

A little over 25% of all U.S. seniors live in California, Florida or Texas. Alaska and Wyoming have the lowest total populations over 65.

StateTotal population over 65Percent of national over-65 population
California5,486,04110.8%
Florida4,205,4288.3%
Texas3,462,5276.8%
New York3,146,3066.2%
Pennsylvania2,281,7204.5%
Illinois1,942,5343.8%
Ohio1,941,2943.8%
Michigan1,666,3433.3%
North Carolina1,628,0133.2%
New Jersey1,410,2852.8%
Georgia1,406,4852.8%
Virgina1,271,9462.5%
Arizona1,206,7482.4%
Washington1,117,6732.2%
Massachusetts1,107,0892.2%
Tennessee1,075,1242.2%
Indiana1,023,5882%
Missouri1,006,7252%
Wisconsin953,5711.9%
Maryland902,6781.8%
South Carolina863,5581.7%
Minnesota858,6981.7%
Alabama804,8811.6%
Colorado773,7061.5%
Kentucky710,1381.4%
Oregon709,5551.4%
Louisiana698,0181.4%
Oklahoma603,3941.2%
Connecticut601,0531.2%
Iowa525,5221%
Arkansas498,7781%
Mississippi461,022.9%
Nevada457,181.9%
Kansas449,327.9%
New Mexico352,687.7%
West Virginia352,114.7%
Utah333,949.7%
Nebraska294,069.6%
Maine267,568.5%
Idaho264,889.5%
Hawaii253,606.5%
New Hampshire235,795.5%
Montana190,711.4%
Rhode Island177,889.4%
Delaware174,1740.3%
South Dakota141,5340.3%
Vermont117,2640.2%
North Dakota112,8830.2%
Wyoming91,4620.2%
District of Columbia83,6700.2%
Alaska82,5830.2%
Total population over 655,486,0414,205,4283,462,5273,146,3062,281,7201,942,5341,941,2941,666,3431,628,0131,410,2851,406,4851,271,9461,206,7481,117,6731,107,0891,075,1241,023,5881,006,725953,571902,678863,558858,698804,881773,706710,138709,555698,018603,394601,053525,522498,778461,022457,181449,327352,687352,114333,949294,069267,568264,889253,606235,795190,711177,889174,174141,534117,264112,88391,46283,67082,583
Percent of national over-65 population10.8%8.3%6.8%6.2%4.5%3.8%3.8%3.3%3.2%2.8%2.8%2.5%2.4%2.2%2.2%2.2%2%2%1.9%1.8%1.7%1.7%1.6%1.5%1.4%1.4%1.4%1.2%1.2%1%1%0.9%0.9%0.9%0.7%0.7%0.7%0.6%0.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%0.4%0.4%0.3%0.3%0.2%0.2%0.2%0.2%0.2%

Aging population predictions

Since 1950, the rate of people over 65 has grown 111%, from 8% of the total population to 16.9% today. The sharpest increase in the aging population happened in the 2010s, when baby boomers began reaching 65. By 2030, all baby boomers will be over the age of 65.

Possible problems

States with larger aging populations may face future issues, including a surplus of homes for sale, a shortage of workers for both assisted living facilities and the general job market, declining economic growth and strain on their welfare and health care systems. Eldercare costs for older residents can be three to five times higher than care for someone under 65.

Increased desire to “age in place”

Recent studies from AARP and the U.S. Census Bureau show a growing interest in aging in place among boomers and other generations. Specifically, the AARP survey estimates that 76% of individuals older than 50 want to stay in their homes as they age.

Vermont had the highest rate of growth among its senior population since the census estimates from 2010 to 2014.

If these desires to age in place hold true for the next few decades, it could change the rates of growth among aging populations. States with fewer older residents may see an increase in their over-65 population, while states where older Americans tend to move might see slower rates of growth among their populations over 65.

Declining birth rates

States with aging populations tend to have lower birth rates. In Maine, there are 50.6 births for every 1,000 women, and in Florida the rate is 56.8.

On the national level, the birth rate is declining. This, combined with a large subset of the population reaching 65, could reshape the U.S. population pyramid. In the past, the U.S. population had a stronger base of younger people with a narrower top of older residents.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates this pyramid may transform into more of a pillar shape in future years. Beyond the reasons noted above, this is also due to longer life expectancies.

Median age by state

Maine has the highest median age in the United States: 44.7 years. Utah has the youngest median age: 30.8 years.

StateTotal populationMedian age
Maine1,335,49244.7
New Hampshire1,348,12442.9
Vermont624,31342.9
West Virginia1,817,30542.5
Florida20,901,63642
Connecticut3,575,07441
Pennsylvania12,791,53040.8
Delaware957,24840.6
Montana1,050,64939.9
New Jersey8,878,50339.9
Rhode Island1,057,23139.9
Michigan9,965,26539.7
Massachusetts6,850,55339.5
Wisconsin5,790,71639.5
Ohio11,655,39739.4
South Carolina5,020,80639.4
Oregon4,129,80339.3
Hawaii1,422,09439.1
Alabama4,876,25039
Kentucky4,449,05238.9
New York19,572,31938.8
Maryland6,018,84838.7
North Carolina10,264,87638.7
Tennessee6,709,35638.7
Missouri6,104,91038.6
Iowa3,139,50838.2
Virginia8,454,46338.2
Arkansas2,999,37038.1
Illinois12,770,63138.1
Minnesota5,563,37838
Nevada2,972,38238
New Mexico2,092,45437.8
Arizona7,050,29937.7
Indiana6,665,70337.7
Washington7,404,10737.7
Wyoming581,02437.7
Mississippi2,984,41837.5
South Dakota870,63837
Louisiana4,664,36236.9
Colorado5,610,34936.7
Georgia10,403,84736.7
Kansas2,910,65236.7
Oklahoma3,932,87036.6
California39,283,49736.5
Nebraska1,914,57136.5
Idaho1,717,75036.4
North Dakota756,71735.1
Texas28,260,85634.6
Alaska737,06834.3
District of Columbia692,68334
Utah3,096,84830.8
Total population1,335,4921,348,124624,3131,817,30520,901,6363,575,07412,791,530957,2481,050,6498,878,5031,057,2319,965,2656,850,5535,790,71611,655,3975,020,8064,129,8031,422,0944,876,2504,449,05219,572,3196,018,84810,264,8766,709,3566,104,9103,139,5088,454,4632,999,37012,770,6315,563,3782,972,3822,092,4547,050,2996,665,7037,404,107581,0242,984,418870,6384,664,3625,610,34910,403,8472,910,6523,932,87039,283,4971,914,5711,717,750756,71728,260,856737,068692,6833,096,848
Median age44.742.942.942.5424140.840.639.939.939.939.739.539.539.439.439.339.13938.938.838.738.738.738.638.238.238.138.1383837.837.737.737.737.737.53736.936.736.736.736.636.536.536.435.134.634.33430.8

Bottom line

Comparing states like Maine and Florida to those like Utah and Alaska shows opposite ends of the spectrum for senior populations. However, in most states, the over-65 demographic hovers between 15% and 17% of the total population, which is close to the national average. For more, read about elderly poverty statistics next.

Sources
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Profile picture of Kathryn Parkman
by Kathryn Parkman ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs Research Team, Kathryn Parkman believes everyone deserves easy access to accurate and comprehensive information on products and businesses before they make a purchase, which is why she spends hours researching companies and industries for ConsumerAffairs. She believes conscious consumption is everyone's responsibility and that all content deserves integrity.