HealthDay News — The American population is older than it used to be, according to new U.S. Census data. With fewer young children, more baby boomers, and even more centenarians, the country’s median age is higher — at 38.8 years — and the share of people aged 65 years and older is more substantial, the report showed.
Among the most notable numbers is that the share of people 65 years and older grew by more than one-third between the 2010 census and the 2020 census and that the number of people reaching age 100 years grew from more than 53,000 to more than 80,000. Meanwhile, millennials became adults or aged into their 30s, and fewer children were born between 2010 and 2020.
“Many more people who have the genetic makeup and environmental exposures that increase one’s chances of getting to 100, but who would have otherwise died of what are now readily reversible problems, are able to fulfill their survival destiny,” Thomas Perls, a longevity expert and professor of medicine at Boston University, told the Associated Press.
The 2020 data were delayed by nearly two years as the Census Bureau began a new privacy protection method that obscures respondent identity. The agency also had some trouble gathering information because of the pandemic, the AP reported.
The United States now has 331 million people. Those aged 65 years and older comprised 16.8 percent of the U.S. population in 2020, a share that is still lower than that in other countries like Japan, Greece, and Italy.
White people are the oldest cohort, with a median age of 44.5 years. The median age for Asian people was 37.2 years. Black Americans had a median age of 35.5 years. The youngest were Hispanic people, with a median age of 30 years. Age also varied by state, with Maine showing a median age of 45.1 years. Puerto Rico had a median of 45.2 years. These facts are attributed to baby boomers aging out of the workforce and people leaving Puerto Rico because of hurricanes and government mismanagement, the AP reported.