NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

West Virginians Surpass Floridians in Age

July 19, 1999

The median age of West Virginia residents has climbed above that of Florida -- long known as the retirement center of the nation. Experts speculate that there is an intrinsic bond in the Appalachian culture between people and their land, which is now drawing them back to their native state for retirement.

  • For 1998, the median age of West Virginians has been estimated at 38.6 years, the oldest in the nation -- up from 35.3 in 1990.
  • For Floridians, it is 38.3 years -- up from 36.2 in 1990.
  • Runners-up for the oldest populations are Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Montana and Maine -- where the median age is between 37.4 and 37.7 years.
  • Utah leads the list of states with the youngest populations at 26.7 years -- followed by Alaska, Texas, California and Idaho.

While the elderly now account for 15 of every 100 West Virginia citizens, the trend is expected to continue upward during the first quarter of the new century to 25 per 100.

Source: Francis X. Clines, "West Virginia, Home of the Gray in America," New York Times, July 17, 1999.


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