The 7 U.S. Counties With the Oldest Residents

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happy older women
Jacob Lund /

The American population is older than ever before, and that trend is expected to continue, says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Between 2021 and 2022, the latest census numbers show our median age (at which half of the people are older and half younger) inched up by 0.2 year, to 38.9, and is heading toward 40.

Why is the U.S. graying? Blame it on our low national birth rate, which has declined steadily over the past couple decades. “Without a rapidly growing young population, the U.S. median age will likely continue its slow but steady rise,” according to Census Bureau demographer Kristie Wilder.

Seven of the 3,144 U.S. counties (or county equivalents) had a median age of 60 or higher in 2022. Read on to see these counties and, at the end of the list, the eldest county of all.

7. Highland County, Virginia

Highland County Virginia
Kristi Blokhin /

Median age of residents in this county: 60 years as of 2022

Rural Highland County, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley region, covers around 415 square miles of land area that includes spectacular mountainous terrain and “pristine” scenery.

In the 2020 national census, Highland County’s population was 2,232, with only 987 households.

6. Charlotte County, Florida

Punta Gorda, Florida
Feng Cheng /

Median age of residents in this county: 60.2 years as of 2022

Charlotte County covers 681 square miles along Florida’s eastern Gulf Coast. Its population was 186,847 in the last census.

Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda are two of the county’s cities. The Port Charlotte area was among those hit hard by the “ruinous” rampage of Hurricane Ian in September 2022, according to WSIL TV. The storm dumped 11.05 inches of rain on Warm Mineral Springs, near Port Charlotte, and at one point in Fort Myers, just south of Charlotte County, some 96% of households reportedly were without power.

5. Jefferson County, Washington

Port Wilson Lighthouse in Jefferson County, Washington
Edmund Lowe Photography /

Median age of residents in this county: 60.4 years as of 2022

Jefferson County is on the Olympic Peninsula, west of Seattle in the northwest corner of Washington state. Its population, estimated at 33,589 in 2022, has grown from 29,872 in 2010, according to the Census Bureau.

This is one of 26 U.S. counties with the name Jefferson.

4. Harding County, New Mexico

cattle in New Mexico
cctm /

Median age of residents in this county: 60.5 years as of 2022

Tiny Harding County, New Mexico, covers a lot of land — about 2,125 square miles. But its population, 657 residents in the 2020 Census, makes it the smallest county in New Mexico by population.

Beef cattle ranching is the county’s main industry, according to the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service.

3. Jeff Davis County, Texas

Jeff Davis County, Texas
Jason Christopher Murrell /

Median age of residents in this county: 61.7 years as of 2022

Jeff Davis County, with 2,264 square miles and 1,996 inhabitants, is the 11th largest county by area in Texas. The county in the state’s southwest was established in 1887.

2. Catron County, New Mexico

Mogollon Theater in ghost town in Catron County, New Mexico
Norm Lane /

Median age of residents in this county: 62.1 years as of 2022

Catron County has 6,924.2 square miles, making it the largest county by area in New Mexico, and, in the 2020 Census, had one of the state’s smallest county populations, with 3,579.

It’s interesting to compare Catron County with New York County, home of the New York City borough of Manhattan. New York County has 22.7 square miles and, in the 2020 Census, had 1.694 million residents.

1. Sumter County, Florida

The Villages, Florida
Peter Titmuss /

Median age of residents in this county: 68.1 years as of 2022

Sumter County, Florida, has the oldest median age in the United States. It is the only U.S. county with a median age that is over 65.

Sumter County owes much of its elder status to The Villages, a famed 55-plus retirement community west of Orlando and north of Tampa. The Villages’ headcount was about 79,000 residents in 2020, according to Census Bureau data.

Spread over Sumter and two other counties — Lake and Marion — The Villages has, according to the community’s website, three town squares (downtowns), 50 golf courses, and 2,500 clubs and activities.

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