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Manhattan and Lawrence, Kan. rank among youngest metro areas in nation

Manhattan, Kansas is the youngest small metropolitan area in the nation, and Lawrence, Kan., ranks 12, a new study found.

The U.S. population is getting older. Aging Baby Boomers and declining fertility rates mean that for the first time in the country’s history, older people — those 65 years and older — are projected to outnumber children by 2030. Additionally, people under age 35 account for only 45.4 percent of the population, a proportion that is nearly 10 percentage points lower than three decades prior.

The share of the population under age 35 has been on the decline for decades. In 1990, nearly 54 percent of the U.S. population was under 35. As of 2019, that figure had dropped to just 45 percent. After a slight increase in 2014, the U.S. fertility rate has dropped for five straight years, and the number of births fell to the lowest level since 1985. As the country’s fertility rate declines and as Baby Boomers age, the proportion of older people is increasing. By 2030, one out of every five Americans will be of retirement age.


Lawrence, Kan.

While the population in the United States is becoming older on average, the population age distribution varies on a geographic basis. Some places are retiree havens, while others have large numbers of young families and kids. At the state level, Utah and Alaska have the highest percentages of their populations under age 35, at 55 and 50 percent, respectively. Maine and West Virginia have the oldest populations, with just 39 and 40 percent of their populations under age 35, respectively.

To find the youngest cities in the United States., researchers at Porch analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the proportion of the population under age 35. Researchers also calculated the total population under 35, the total population across all ages, the homeownership rate for households under 35 and the homeownership rate for all households.

Provo-Orem, Utah, is the youngest mid-sized city, and Salt Lake City is the youngest large city. No other cities in Missouri or Kansas were ranked.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice