The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

U.S. continues to get older and more diverse, new estimates show

Clark County election board officers wait for primary voters June 14 on the Moapa River Indian Reservation in Nevada. (Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun/AP)
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The U.S. population is continuing a two-decade trajectory during which it has grown older and less White, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday.

Since 2000, the national median age has increased by 3.4 years to 38.8, with the largest single-year gain of 0.3 years coming in 2021, the year after the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to the bureau’s new 2021 population estimates, an annual data set that is used to fine-tune and update existing statistics.

The birthrate nationwide has been declining, and decreased immigration levels have accelerated the decline.

Between 2020 and 2021, 47 states and the D.C. saw an increase in median age; only Montana, New Hampshire, and West Virginia had no change in median age.

The Northeast was the oldest region in 2021, with a median age of 40.4, followed by the Midwest (39.0), the South (38.6) and the West, which saw the largest increase, up 0.3 years to 37.7, the bureau said.

The new data also reflects the continuing diversification of the country: All race and ethnicity groups grew between 2020 and 2021 except for the White population, which declined by 0.03 percent. The Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander population was the fastest-growing category, increasing by 1.54 percent. The Hispanic category (which can be any race) had the largest numerical gain and was the second-fastest-growing, increasing by 767,907 people, or 1.24 percent.