North Carolina’s population is aging and becoming more diverse, according to the latest estimates from the US Census Bureau.
The median age of North Carolina – where half the population is younger and half the population is older – fell from 37.4 to 38.7 years between 2010 and 2016, making it the 20th oldest state – tied with Kentucky and Tennessee, according to estimates released Thursday. Utah was the youngest state, at 30.8, while Maine was the oldest, at 44.6.
During this time, Hispanics of all races became a larger part of North Carolina’s population, while the proportion of whites declined and blacks remained stable. In 2016, Hispanics made up 9.2% of the population, up from 8.4% in 2010.
Whites remain the biggest race at 63.5% last year, up from 65.3% in 2010. Blacks made up about 21.3%.
The Hispanic population has grown by 127,000 statewide since 2010, reaching an estimated 932,221. Duplin County, in the eastern part of the state, has the highest proportion of Hispanics, at 21.9%, while Gates County, in the northeastern part of the state, has the most low, with about 1.5%.
The aging of the population is a national phenomenon; the median age in each state has increased or remained the same as the previous year, according to the census report. The trend is largely the result of the aging of the baby boom generation; about 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day.
“Baby boomers started turning 65 in 2011 and will continue to do so for many years to come,” said Peter Borsella, demographer in the population division of the US Census Bureau.
In North Carolina, Brunswick County has seen the largest increase in its median age from 47.6 to 52.9 – the highest median age in the state – as retirees continue to pour in. the count.
Chatham County has seen the biggest change in the Triangle and the third largest in the state, dropping from a median age of 43.7 to 47.8 years.
The county with the lowest median age was Onslow County, home to Marine Corps Lejeune Base Camp. Despite this, Onslow’s median age fell from 25.6 to 27.
Only one county in North Carolina has seen its median age drop. The median age of Moore County, home of Southern Pines and Pinehurst, has dropped from 44.9 to 44.8.
Other findings of the report include:
▪ Between 2010 and 2016, the median age in Wake County fell from 34.5 to 36. As of July 1, 2016, 60.5% of its population was white, 20.2% black and 10% Hispanic.
▪ The median age in County Durham has dropped from 33.5 to 35.2. In 2016, 42.4% of its population was white, 37.1% black, and 13.4% Hispanic.
▪ The median age in Orange County fell from 33.1 to 34.2. In 2016, 69.3% of its population was white, 11.7% black, and 8.4% Hispanic.
▪ The median age in Johnston County fell from 36.4 to 38.2. In 2016, 68.6% of its population was white, 15.4% black, and 13.3% Hispanic.
▪ The Asian population of Wake County grew by 44% between 2010 and 2016, to over 71,000.