7 states that are getting younger

While the rest of the country is aging, the median age is declining in these states.

By MSN Real Estate partner Jul 15, 2014 1:53PM

© Charles Briscoe-Knight, PhotographerBy Emily Brandon, U.S. News & World Report


Most of the country is rapidly getting older. There were 44.7 million Americans age 65 and older in 2013, up 3.6 percent from 2012. But not all areas of the country are aging at the same rate. In seven states the median age actually declined between 2012 and 2013, according to new Census Bureau data.


"The population in the Great Plains energy boom states is becoming younger and more male as workers move in seeking employment in the oil and gas industry," says John Thompson, director of the Census Bureau.


"The U.S. as a whole continues to age as the youngest of the baby boom generation enters their 50s."


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Here's where the U.S. population is getting younger:


North Dakota. The largest age decline in the country was in North Dakota, where the median age decreased by 0.6 years between 2012 and 2013. Williams, North Dakota experienced a median age decline of 1.6 years, the most of any county in the nation. The Census Bureau suggests that the age decline could be due to the jobs created by the Bakken shale energy boom.


Alaska. In Alaska the median age declined by 0.4 years to 33 in 2013. Alaska has the lowest proportion of people age 65 and older in the country, just 9 percent. The state also has the highest percentage of men, making up 52.4 percent of the population.

Hawaii. The median age declined by 0.2 years in Hawaii between 2012 and 2013. "The report from the Census Bureau refers to a short time period and the change for Hawaii is very small," says Andrew Mason, an economics professor at the University of Hawaii. "In general Hawaii is aging with the rest of the country and for the same reasons. In-migration of young workers can make a difference in some cases."


Montana. Montana’s median age declined by 0.1 years between 2012 and 2013. "Out-migration of younger persons has declined," says Jim Sylvester, a senior economist at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana at Missoula. "Younger people are no longer leaving Montana for work but are staying or moving to the energy counties of eastern Montana."  

Wyoming. Wyoming’s median age slightly decreased by 0.03 years. 'Wyoming's economic recovery in the energy and construction sectors in recent years has been drawing younger workers into the state," says Wenlin Liu, principal economist with the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division. "It has also kept many of Wyoming's younger workers from leaving the state due to the declining and low unemployment rate."


South Dakota. The median age inched slightly downward by 0.02 years in South Dakota. And the county of Shannon, South Dakota has the highest proportion of children under age 5 (11.6 percent) in the country. "It's the small denominator of a population of 800,000, coupled with a little in-migration for jobs, a higher fertility rate among the Dakota and a much higher fertility rate among the Hutterites that is moving South Dakota younger by a statistically insignificant amount," says Michael McCurry, South Dakota's former state demographer who recently retired.


Oklahoma. The median age in Oklahoma very marginally declined by 0.007 years, but that's still noteworthy at a time when most of the country is aging rapidly.

Florida had the highest proportion of people age 65 and older of any state (18.7 percent). And in the county of Sumter, Florida, over half the population (51.6 percent) is composed of senior citizens. Maine has the oldest median age of any state in the country, 43.9 years, and 17.7 percent of residents are senior citizens. New Hampshire experienced the largest statewide increase in the median age, growing from 42 in 2012 to 42.3 in 2013.


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Jul 20, 2014 5:21PM
Note these states No/So Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska. - the climate is a major issue and hard on anyone, in particular very young or very old!  During the long winter months other issue such as isolation arise, increase in alcoholism and divorce.  Hawaii is beautiful if you like the temp to always be 76 - 88 degrees, sunny all the time even with frequent rain.  Beautiful, green and lush, but you better love water sports otherwise you will be one bored individual, museums, art as on the continent or Europe unheard of.  The water is fantastic, the most beautiful colors in the world.   Differences are the spice of life.  If you love the hazy, lazy days of tropical living Hawaii is fantastic!
Jul 20, 2014 2:45PM
Of course some people can now put themselves at risk and move to areas where they can enjoy the prospect of new careers and higher income because we have made steps towards catching up with the rest of the developed countries by enacting a form of national health coverage - Yes! Obamacare is granting freedoms to people seeking new opportunity - just like it should in a freedom loving and entrepreneurial society like ours.  It is a republican idea, after all - the republicans just hate it because the Democrats with President Blackman were able to get it done. 
Jul 20, 2014 9:47AM
Could it be that the old timers are just dying off and not be replaced?
Jul 20, 2014 3:34AM
If you torture the data long enough it will tell you what you want to hear. 
Jul 18, 2014 3:38AM
Sure banks still want boomers, they're realizing  how lucky they were in the old days when people actually paid.
Jul 16, 2014 4:08AM
North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma these aren't in my mind hot spots to put down roots. I'm sure there are places in these states that are great. They just don't strike me as a place I'd want to raise my family. 
Jul 16, 2014 3:34AM
somebody needs to change the diaper on a couple of them states...
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