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June 13, 2013
TOPEKA New statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the nation overall is aging but Kansas was one of only five states where the median age of residents decreased.
The national median age rose to 37.4 years in 2012, up slightly from the previous year. The median age for Kansas for 2012 was 36, considerably less than states such as Maine, the nation's oldest, where the median age was 43.5.
The report, which was detailed enough to include county-specific data, showed that Sumter County, Fla. had the nation's highest median age, 64.8. That was in sharp contrast to Madison County, Idaho, where the median age was 23.
A median age of 36 for Kansas means that half the state's residents were older than 36 and half were younger. It is a broad gauge of the age of the general population.
According to the report, Kansans between the ages of 20 and 24 (there were 213,701 of them) were the state's largest cohort. Kansans under age 18 numbered 724,304. There were 394,269 who were 65 or older.
Of the five states that saw a drop in median age, North Dakota showed the most with a decrease of .5 years to 36.1. The other states were Alaska, Hawaii and Oklahoma. The median age also decreased in the District of Columbia.
The age of a population is a broad indicator of its health. Older populations tend to be sicker with higher health care costs.
The statistics, released Thursday, also showed that Asians were the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in 2012, mostly accounted for by international migration.
Census officials said that nearly half the nation's children under age 5 (49.9 percent) were minorities.
"The proportion of young children that is minority has been increasing since the 2010 Census and if this proportional growth continues we expect that the crossover to majority-minority for this group will occur within the next couple of years," said Thomas Mesenbourg, acting director of the Census.
Four states -Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas - and the District of Columbia were "majority-minority," according to the Census Bureau.
Males outnumbered females in only 10 states.
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