- Rich Doty, MA, Spatial Demographer, BEBR
- Suzanne Roulston-Doty, MA, Spatial Demographer and GIS Coordinator, BEBR
The population of Florida has been aging for some time, mirroring national trends. Historical data and projections from the U.S. Census Bureau for the nation, and projections from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) for Florida, indicate a consistent upward trend in median age as shown in Figure 1 below. Between the 1970 and 2010 censuses, median age for Florida increased from 32 to 41 years, an increase of 26% over the 40 year period. Over that same period, median age for the U.S. increased from 28 to 37 years, a slightly larger percentage increase of 32%. Median age for Florida exceeded the U.S. median age by several years throughout this period.
Projections of median age for Florida and the nation indicate a continued upward trend, but at a lower rate than reflected in the historical data. For Florida, BEBR projects the average median age to increase from 41 to 44 years, an increase of 8% over the 30 year period. For the U.S., the Census Bureau projects the average median age of the nation to increase from 37 to 42 years, an even larger increase of 12% over the 30 year period.
Some Florida counties are aging more rapidly than the state and some are aging less rapidly, or not at all. In 1970, median age ranged from a low of 23.1 years in Okaloosa County to a high of 58.3 years in Pasco County, and the state’s median age was 32.3 years. Okaloosa had a relatively high proportion of residents in the military, and Pasco had a high percentage of retirees.
In 2010, median age ranged from a low of 25.1 years in Leon County to a high of 62.7 years in Sumter County, and the state’s median age had increased to 40.7 years. Leon County has a relatively large proportion of university students, and a large proportion of Sumter County’s growth is associated with the Villages retirement community.
By 2040, median age for Florida counties is projected to range from a low of 34.1 years in Leon County to a high of 65.1 years in Sumter County, rising to 43.8 years statewide.
Figure 2 below depicts the median age by county in Florida for 1970, 2010 and 2040.
From 1970–2010, median age increased for 62 of Florida’s 67 counties. The highest increase of 32.7 years was in Sumter County, and the lowest was a reduction of 9.7 years in Pasco County.
Based on BEBR’s projections for 2040, median age is expected to increase further for all but one county. The highest increase is 8.4 years in Gilchrist County, and the lowest is a reduction of 0.6 years in Flagler County.
Figure 3 below depicts the estimated change in median age by county in Florida from 1970–2010 and the projected change from 2010–2040.
Table 1 below contains median age values used to derive the above figures.
Table 1. Median Age Estimates and Projections for the U.S., Florida, and Florida Counties [1, 2, 3]
The U.S. and Florida are aging. Florida is already one of the oldest states in the U.S., and the state is projected to continue aging over the next 25 years. This is an important consideration for governmental decision making, health care, emergency services, real estate, and other decision makers and service providers.
2 U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census of Population, 1970 to 2010.
3 U.S. Census Bureau, Projections of the Population by Age and Sex for the United States: 2015 to 2060 (NP2014-T9), December 2014.
Time lapse animated GIF showing Florida Median Age by county