Minnesota is getting older, new Census data show
The typical Minnesotan was 38.4 years old in 2020, according to new data released by the U.S. Census bureau. That makes Minnesota the sixteenth-youngest state, coming in just below the national median age of 38.8, meaning half the country is older than 38.8 and half are younger.
Like nearly every other state in the U.S., Minnesota’s population is aging. In 2000, 12.1% of the state population was over age 65, making for a median statewide age of 35.4. Today 16.6% of Minnesota residents are seniors. Much of that increase is driven by the aging of the Baby Boomer cohort.
A remarkable signal of the state’s aging population comes in the number of Minnesotans living beyond 100. As of 2020, over 1,500 centenarians lived in Minnesota, an increase of more than 25% since 2010.
The oldest state in the U.S. is Maine, with a median age of 45. The youngest is Utah, where the typical resident is 31. The number of states with a median age of 40 or older has doubled since 2010, from seven to 14.
Within Minnesota, urban populations are typically younger than those in rural areas. The Twin Cities metro has a median age of 37.5, while St. Cloud clocks in at 36.6.
Communities along the North Dakota border are even younger — Fargo-Moorhead has a median age of 33.5. That reflects, in part, a recent influx of relatively young families into North Dakota driven by jobs in the oil and energy industries. North Dakota was the only state to grow younger, on average, from 2010 to 2020.
Duluth, however, is an exception to the “younger cities” rule, with a median age of 42. The Arrowhead and lake country are, in general, home to the oldest Minnesotans. Aitkin County, bordering Mille Lacs Lake, is the state’s oldest at 56.2, presumably due retirees who have settled there. The youngest is Blue Earth, with a median age of 32.3. The spread between the two is nearly a quarter of a century.
The gap gets even wider at the level of Census tracts, which are a geographic subdivision of counties and typically home to several thousand people. Minnesota’s youngest such tract is located in a Minneapolis neighborhood rich with college students, with a median age of 20.2 years. The oldest is south of Leech Lake in Cass County, where fully half of residents are age 65 or older. The typical resident of the former tract is nearly a half-century younger than that of the latter.
You can look up age data for your own neighborhood on the Census Bureau’s interactive map.
In some counties of the state, there are more seniors over age 65 than residents under age 18. More places are likely to join those ranks in the coming years as the baby boom cohort ages.
“The total number of older adults (65+) is anticipated to double between 2010 and 2030,” according to the state demographic center. “By then, more than one in five Minnesotans will be an older adult, including all the Baby Boomers.”
That’s going to create challenges for the workforce, as more and more people start to rely on old-age social services funded by fewer people.
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