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Ask the Experts

Which States Have More Older Residents?

With a median age of 42.7, Maine tops the list

En español | Q. I've read that the U.S. population as a whole is getting older. But which states tend to have the most older residents?

A. You're right that the nation's getting older, on average. In the decade between 2000 and 2010, the population of people ages 45 to 64 grew at the fastest rate among all age groups, expanding by 31.5 percent, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report issued in May.

See also: Percent of 65-plus population in each state and D.C.

Maine has the highest median ages in the country, 42.7, lobster couple.

Maine is the state with the most older residents. — Photo by Mary Ann Anderson/MCT/Getty Images

The group's growth reflects the aging of boomers, who now make up 26.4 percent of population. But the 65-plus population also grew faster than most younger groups, at a rate of 15.1 percent; it now accounts for 13 percent of the population.

Growth rates were much slower among younger groups. The number of people under 18 grew just 2.6 percent, to reach 24 percent of the total population. The 18-to-44 group grew at an even slower rate of 0.6 percent — now 36.5 percent of the population.

The median age of Americans was 37.2 in 2010, up from 35.3 in 2000, according to the report, titled "Age and Sex Composition: 2010." It was based on data gathered in the 2010 Census.

But to your question, seven states had a median age of 40 or older.

They are Maine (42.7), Vermont (41.5), West Virginia (41.3), New Hampshire (41.1), Florida (40.7), Pennsylvania (40.1) and Connecticut (40.0).

In both 1990 and 2000, West Virginia and Florida had the highest median ages of all states, but neither state topped 40. Maine and Vermont overtook them to lead the list in 2010, the report found.

Interested in which cities had the highest median age? Here are the top 10:

Scottsdale, Ariz. (45.4).

Clearwater, Fla. (43.8).

Cape Coral, Fla. (42.4).

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (42.2).

Hialeah, Fla. (42.2).

St. Petersburg, Fla. (41.6).

Thousand Oaks, Calif. (41.5).

Honolulu (41 .3).

Torrance, Calif. (41.3).

Centennial City, Colo. (41.1).

Cities with the lowest median age were Provo, Utah (23.3), Gainesville, Fla. (24.9) and Athens, Ga. (25.9).

Also of interest: How to live a longer, happier life. >>

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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