Median age increases in Arkansas counties, Hispanic population grows

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 340 views 

The median age of Arkansas residents rose in all but five counties, and the Hispanic population increased 20 basis points to comprise of 7.6% of the population in the state, between 2016 and 2017, according to the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

On Thursday (June 21), the U.S. Census Bureau released changes in the median age and race and ethnicity diversity for the United States as of July 1, 2017.

The median age in the United States increased from 37.2 to 38 years old, between 2010 and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, the population increased for all race and ethnic groups, except for the non-Hispanic, white group.

In Arkansas, the median age decreased in the following counties: Clark, Columbia, Poinsett, Randolph and Union. The decreases ranged from 0.1 to 1.1 years. Counties with male-only decreases in median age included Drew, Lawrence and Sharp. The decreases might be a result of a rise in college enrollment, shifting younger people to college areas or an increase in the deaths of the older population, according to the AEDI. Fewer older people leads to a younger population, unless older people are moving into the area.

Between 2010 and 2016, the Hispanic population increased 100 basis points to comprise of 7.4% of the population in the state. Between 2010 and 2017, the population with two or more races increased from 1.7% to 2.1% of the population. The rise was attributed to natural increase, according to the Census Bureau.

The white alone population is shrinking in the younger populations of the state, and it’s increasing in those older than 55, possibly indicating that people are returning to the state to retire, according to AEDI. Also, the slight dip in the 25 to 44 age group might mean the working age population has left the state for work but returns at retirement.

The black alone population represents more of a growing population, with a greater younger population. However, the youngest population age groups have declined since 2010. And, older age groups are growing at greater pace than one group aging into another, implying that people are moving back to Arkansas when they retire.

The Hispanic population looks to have high fertility rates in the growing population, yet between 2010 and 2017, one of the only age groups in the population with a decrease was the 0-4 year age group, according to the AEDI. This was the last 2017 population estimate to be released by the Census Bureau. Other estimates already released included national, county, metro area, city and town population estimates.