The U.S. population is both growing more slowly and ageing. While population growth in 2018 was half the pace of the early-1990s, the nation’s median age today — 38 — is eight years older than in the 1980s, reported Oxford Economics.
This is due to the falling fertility rate, which has fallen to historically low levels as young adults delay starting families for longer. Places with a heightened birth rate tend to be cities with a large foreign-born population, such as McAllen, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; and Laredo, Texas. Interestingly, metros in Utah, which have a cultural preference for larger families, tend to have higher birthrates, and the median ages of Salt Lake City and Provo are a youthful 32.9 and 24.7 years, respectively. In general, however, this ageing trend will continue to constrain U.S. labor force growth and the economy’s productive capacity.
Also with the ageing society in the United States, many of its fastest-growing cities in terms of total population are now retirement destinations. Of the top 20 by this metric, 10 metros have a median age that exceeds the overall U.S. figure, and five have a median age over 50 years old. Even rapidly growing cities that skew younger, such as St. George, Utah, and Las Vegas, also have sizable retiree populations.
Many retirement hubs are stimulating notable five-year job growth forecasts, including the Florida cities of The Villages (at 1.1 percent) and Naples (0.9 percent). However, many of the new service roles they command will be low-wage and are not expected to have a significant economic impact. In contrast, cities showing sturdy working-age population growth, such as Austin, Charlotte, and Boise, will be better equipped to support industrial diversification and productivity gains.
The overall outlook for most U.S. cities remains positive in 2019, concluded Oxford Economics.
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