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Social Explorer analysis for New York Times finds 80-year-olds aren’t limited to White House

TUESDAY, NOV 22, 2022

What do most elderly Americans have in common with President Joe Biden? About 1.27 million, or 1 in 25, are over the age of 80, according to a Social Explorer analysis for the New York Times. At least 2.8 million Americans were born in 1942 alone, and 1.3 million are still with us, including the current occupant of the White House.

The article notes that Biden is in good company: Paul McCartney, Harrison Ford, Calvin Klein, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Eisner, Joy Behar and three members of the  Beach Boys also are celebrating 80th birthdays this year. Indeed, there was a greater percentage of Americans older than 80 in 2020 than Americans older than 75 in 1970.

A review of 2016-20 American Community Survey data finds Florida has the largest percentage of people older than 80; they make up 5.3 percent of the population. The Sunshine State is followed by Hawaii and Maine, both with 4.9 percent. In terms of median age, however, New England has the grayest population. The median age in Maine is 44.8 years old. It’s followed by New Hampshire (43 percent) and Vermont (42.8 percent). The national median age is 38.2 years old.

Individual counties skew even older; 29 of the 3,142 U.S. counties have a double-digit percentage of people older than 80, led by tiny Loving County, Texas (population 117, 33.3 percent older than 80); Catron County, N.M. (population 3,547, 15.4 percent); and McIntosh County, N.D. (population 2,535, 12.6 percent).

When it comes to median age, however, Sumter County, Fla., leads the pack, with a median age of 68. It’s followed by Loving (62.2) and Jeff Davis County, Texas (61.3).

If Biden appears old, it may be a function of his current location. Only 3 percent of the Washington, D.C., population is older than 80, and the median age is 34.1, making it one of the youngest places in the United States.

Use Social Explorer’s cutting-edge, intuitive report and mapping tools to look at age trends in your area.


Median Age, 2020. Click here to explore further.

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Author: Frank Bass

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