Valorie Hanni Rice
Business Information Specialist Senior
In 2014, Arizona’s population under 18 was 24.1%, which ranked the state as the 11th youngest state in the nation. This is a decline from a decade ago, when Arizona ranked 4th with 26.9% under 18, and is the first year since 2000 that Arizona has not placed in the top 10. Arizona experienced decades of increases in its youth population ranking 22nd in 1984, 13th in 1994, and 10th in the 2000 Census. However, Arizona was not the only state to age considerably in the rankings between 2004 and 2014 – California dropped from 5th to 17th. Since Arizona is no longer in the top 10, it is interesting to examine which states gained youth and moved up in the rankings. [See Table]
Utah remains at the top of the list in the same position it was in 2004 with 30.7%. It is followed by Idaho, Texas, Alaska, Kansas, Nebraska, Georgia, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. The Midwest states of South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska, along with Oklahoma, made the leap into the top 10, replacing Arizona and its neighboring states of Nevada, California, and New Mexico. The state with the largest gain in ranking was Wyoming, moving from 40th in 2004 to 16th in 2014, while Michigan took the largest dive, going from 16th down to 36th.
The trend over the decade indicates a smaller percent of children in the population overall. In 2004, 25.0% of the U.S. population was under 18, yet by 2014 that figure was down to 23.1%. Even Utah, with the highest ranking in both years, had a slightly smaller percentage of under 18 population in 2014 (30.7) than in 2004 (31.0). Only four states have a higher percentage of population under 18 now versus a decade ago. They are North Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, and Oklahoma. Arizona is among the four states which experienced the greatest decline in the percentage of young population. Only California, New Hampshire and Alaska had larger decreases than Arizona. Despite the lower percent of young people and a fall in ranking for 2014, Arizona still has a higher percentage of youth than the U.S. as a whole (24.1% vs. 23.1%).
Photo of kids in Northern Arizona courtesy of Shutterstock.