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In 2003, the 73 million children under the age of 18 in the U.S. represented 25 percent of the total population. Young adults aged 20-24 represented 7.1 percent, adults aged 25-64 represented nearly 53 percent, and persons ages 65 and over represented 12 percent of the total population. The median age in the U.S. for all races was 35.9 years.

In the last decade, the number of children under 5 years of age has increased by 0.2 percent, while the number of children ages 5-19 has increased by 12 percent. In the same period, the number of persons aged 65 and over has increased by 9 percent.

Race and Ethnicity

Reflecting the trends in the general population, the population of children has become increasingly diverse over the past several decades. Since 1980, the percentage of children who are Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander has doubled, as the percentage who are non-Hispanic White has declined. Hispanic children represented 9 percent of children in 1980 and 18 percent in 2003; likewise, Asian/Pacific Islander children represented 2 percent in 1980 and 4 percent in 2003. In the same period, the percentage of children who are White dropped by 18 percent to represent 59 percent of the child population in 2003, while the percentage who are Black remained stable. In addition, nearly 3 percent of children were of more than one racial group in 2003.

Graph: US Resident Population by Age Group[d]

Graph: Percent Distribution of Children Under 18, by Race/Ethnicity: 2003[d]