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April 21, 2001

The median age of the U.S. population in 2000 was 35.3 years, the highest it has ever been. The increase in the median age reflects the aging of the baby boomers. However, the 65-and-over population actually increased at a slower rate than the overall population for the first time in the history of the census. Both findings are from a Census 2000 profile,
highlighting characteristics of the U.S. population, released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau.

"While the median age increased by nearly two and a half years between 1990 and 2000," said Campbell Gibson, a senior Census Bureau demographer, "the growth of the population aged 65-and-over was by far the lowest recorded rate of growth in any decade for this age group."

The median age (meaning half are older and half younger) rose from 32.9 years in 1990 to 35.3 in 2000. The rise reflects a 4-percent decline in numbers among 18- to 34-year-olds and a 28-percent increase in 35- to 64-year-olds.

The most rapid increase in size of any age group in the profile was the 49 percent jump in the population 45-to-54-years-old. This increase, to 37.7 million in 2000, was fueled mainly by the entry into this age group of the first of the "baby boom" generation (those born from 1946 to 1964).

"The slower growth of the population 65 and over," Gibson said, "reflects the relatively low number of people reaching 65
during the past decade because of the relatively low number of births in the late 1920s and early 1930s."

Besides data on age, the U.S. profile contains data on sex, household relationship and household type, housing units, and renters and homeowners. It also includes the first population totals for selected groups of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and Hispanic or Latino populations.

Other highlights:

- The number of males (138.1 million) edged closer to the number of females (143.4 million), raising the sex ratio (males per 100 females) from 95.1 in 1990 to 96.3 in 2000.

- The nation's housing units numbered 115.9 million, an increase of 13.6 million from 1990.

- The average household size in 2000 was 2.59, down slightly from 2.63 in 1990.

- Of the 105.5 million occupied housing units in 2000, 69.8 million were occupied by owners and 35.7 million by renters; the homeownership rate increased from 64 percent to 66 percent.

- The number of nonfamily households rose at twice the rate of family households 23 percent versus 11 percent.

- Families maintained by women with no husband present increased three times as fast as married-couple families 21 percent versus 7 percent. Married-couple families dropped from 55 percent to 52 percent of all households.

Table DP-1.
Profile of General Demographic Characteristics for the United States: 2000

EXCEL document

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/tables/dp_us_2000.xls

Adobe Acrobat document

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/tables/dp_us_2000.PDF

Table DP-1.
Profile of General Demographic Characteristics for the United States: 1990

EXCEL document

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/tables/dp_us_1990.xls

Adobe Acrobat document

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2001/tables/dp_us_1990.PDF

For more information at http://www.census.gov.

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