The September issue of Governing kicks off a series examining the nation's aging population and growing number of soon-to-be retirees.
Recent census estimates show much of the country is getting older. It's a trend that's expected to continue as baby boomers exit the workforce and enter the next phase of their lives. By 2030, AARP projects one in three Americans will be age 50 or older.
The U.S. Census Bureau defines boomers as being born from 1946 to 1964. About 26.4 percent Americans counted in the 2010 Census identified themselves as being between the ages of 45 and 64, roughly the same age group.
The following counties with total populations exceeding 100,000 had the highest such concentration of boomers:
|County||2010 Population||Age 45 to 64 Count||45 to 64 (%)|
|Hunterdon County, New Jersey||128,349||44,350||34.6|
|El Dorado County, California||181,058||60,462||33.4|
|Litchfield County, Connecticut||189,927||62,862||33.1|
|Fayette County, Georgia||106,567||35,165||33|
|Rockingham County, New Hampshire||295,223||96,485||32.7|
|Sussex County, New Jersey||149,265||48,695||32.6|
|Marin County, California||252,409||82,143||32.5|
|Barnstable County, Massachusetts||215,888||70,005||32.4|
|Santa Fe County, New Mexico||144,170||46,606||32.3|
|York County, Maine||197,131||62,441||31.7|
Here's a map showing baby boomers across all U.S. counties, with areas home to the highest concentrations of boomers in dark purple. Click the map to open a full-screen interactive version with figures for each county.
For comparison, here's another map shaded based on each county's 2010 median age, with older localities in dark blue (click to open full-screen interactive map):
Utah recorded a median age of only 29.2 in 2010, more than four percentage points lower than Texas, the next-youngest state. If you notice Utah atop any ranking of states, there's a good chance it can be explained by the state's high population of young people.
Maine was the nation's oldest state, with a median age of 42.7.
GOVERNING By the Numbers is a companion to GOVERNING Data that digests the growing body of work at the intersection of computer-assisted journalism, data visualization and government transparency.
GOVERNING By the Numbers is dedicated to telling important stories through numbers, with a focus on both our original work in data visualization on GOVERING Data and providing an ongoing tally of editor's picks of new and notable data releases of use to those in government and those who care about it.