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Minnesota's aging population: Census numbers track age by county

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Like the rest of the country, Minnesota is getting older.

According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota's statewide median age was 37.7 years, which rose from 37.4 years in 2010. A median age means that half the county’s residents are older than that age and half are younger.

Minnesota's aging patterns correspond with the national trends, which show the median age for the entire U.S. inching up from 37.5 years in 2012 to 37.6 years in 2013. The number of Americans 65 and older surged to 44.7 million in 2013, up 3.6 percent from 2012. The number of Americans younger than 65 grew by only 0.3 percent.

The youngest county in Minnesota is Blue Earth County, with a median age of 30.5 years. Twenty of Minnesota’s 87 counties saw their median age drop between 2012 and 2013, including Becker, Beltrami, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Grant, Itasca, Jackson, Kittson, Lincoln, Mahnomen, Nobles, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Redwood, Stevens, Traverse, Wadena and Watonwan.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that every county in northeastern Minnesota was older than the statewide median. Statewide, nearly 20 percent of Minnesota residents are 60 and older, but in the Arrowhead, more than 25 percent are 60 or older.

You are most likely to be ordered off someone's lawn in Aitkin County, which recorded the state's oldest median age at 53.5 years. Cook County is a close second at 51.4.

Catherine Sampson, executive director of the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, told the newspaper that the aging population in the region may reflect the number of older, healthier people choosing to retire in rural areas, often “up at the lake.”

Wisconsin’s median age in 2013 was 39, up from 38.5 in 2010.

The Associated Press reported that the booming oil and gas industries are pushing down the median age in seven states as young, male workers flood into those regions to take jobs. North Dakota’s average age dropped more than half a year from 2012 to 2013, the largest drop in the U.S.

Williams County, North Dakota, which the Census Bureau called the center of the Bakken shale energy boom, had the largest decline in age in the United States - 1.6 years.

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