Tuesday, April 24, 2018

U.S. Demographics: Largest 5-year cohorts, and Ten most Common Ages in 2017

IMPORTANT NOTE: The data below is based on the Census 2017 estimates. Housing economist Tom Lawler has pointed out some questions about the Census estimates, see: Lawler: "New Long-Term Population Projections Show Slower Growth than Previous Projections but Are Still Too High"

Four years ago, I wrote: Census Bureau: Largest 5-year Population Cohort is now the "20 to 24" Age Group.

In 2016, I followed up with Largest 5-year Population Cohorts are now "20 to 24" and "25 to 29" and U.S. Demographics: Ten most common ages in 2010, 2015, 2020, and 2030.

Note: For the impact on housing, also see: Demographics: Renting vs. Owning

Last week the Census Bureau released the population estimates for 2017, and I've updated the table from the previous post (replacing 2015 with 2017 data).

The table below shows the top 11 cohorts by size for 2010, 2017 (released this month), and Census Bureau projections for 2020 and 2030.

By the year 2020, 8 of the top 10 cohorts will be  under 40 (the Boomers will be fading away), and by 2030 the top 11 cohorts will be the youngest 11 cohorts (the reason I included 11 cohorts).

There will be plenty of "gray hairs" walking around in 2020 and 2030, but the key for the economy is the population in the prime working age group is now increasing.

This is positive for housing and the economy.

Population: Largest 5-Year Cohorts by Year
145 to 49 years25 to 29 years25 to 29 years35 to 39 years
250 to 54 years20 to 24 years30 to 34 years40 to 44 years
315 to 19 years55 to 59 years35 to 39 years30 to 34 years
420 to 24 years30 to 34 yearsUnder 5 years25 to 29 years
525 to 29 years50 to 54 years55 to 59 years5 to 9 years
640 to 44 years35 to 39 years20 to 24 years10 to 14 years
710 to 14 years15 to 19 years5 to 9 yearsUnder 5 years
85 to 9 years45 to 49 years60 to 64 years15 to 19 years
9Under 5 years10 to 14 years15 to 19 years20 to 24 years
1035 to 39 years5 to 9 years10 to 14 years45 to 49 years
1130 to 34 years60 to 64 years50 to 54 years50 to 54 years

2016 Population by Age
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph, based on the 2017 population estimate, shows the U.S. population by age in July 2017 according to the Census Bureau.

Note that the largest age groups are all in their mid-20s.

And below is a table showing the ten most common ages in 2010, 2017, 2020, and 2030 (projections are from the Census Bureau).

Note the younger baby boom generation dominated in 2010.  By 2017 the millennials have taken over.  And by 2020, the boomers are off the list.

My view is this is positive for both housing and the economy, especially in the 2020s.

Population: Most Common Ages by Year


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I posted this on my FB page and got some interesting comments.

    The most interesting one I'll mention here.

    Some conditional probability analysis could help here - namely, what's the level of indebtedness by generational cohort? Having lots of people in the "traditional homebuying age" cohort is only interesting to the extent that the people in this cohort are capable of borrowing.

    Anecdotally the younger cohorts have very high student debt loads. Will this impact homebuying behavior?


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