The birthrate has also dropped, and life expectancy has dipped in the past couple of years — a reversal that has been driven by factors such as drug overdoses, obesity, suicide and liver disease and that sharply accelerated last year during the pandemic.
The extent to which the coronavirus has contributed to population patterns is not apparent in the new census data because much of the related displacement and the deaths of over half a million people took place after Census Day. According to the Pew Research Center, 5 percent of U.S. adults said they moved because of the pandemic; it is not clear whether these moves will be permanent.
But it is clear that going forward, older populations, especially those over age 65, will continue to see far higher rates of growth than young ones. The percentage of Americans 65 and over has grown by 35 percent, based on census estimates released last year. In the coming decade, the large baby boomer generation will reach their 60s, 70s and 80s.