Yes, the numbers seem to show that Cary has a higher median age than Raleigh. But, on the other hand, we are younger than the average for North Carolina. Our median age is 36.6 years. That means that there are as many people older than 36.6 as there is that are younger than that age.
According to the slides presented to the Committee on the Future (Imagine Cary steering committee).  Cary has proportionally fewer people than the state in the 20-29 age group, but significantly more people in the 30-39 and 40-49 age group. We are about equal with the state for the 50-59 age group and fewer people than the state in the age groups above 60.
According to Leigh Anne King’s presentation at the Summit, Cary has a higher median age than Raleigh but a lower median age than North Carolina.
Keep in mind that the Raleigh area is somewhat unique in that the more affluent and more educated residential areas are separate towns. In other cities the suburban residential areas are part of the city. For example, the closest equivalent of Cary in the Charlotte area is the far southeast part of the city of Charlotte.
One thing that will increase the median age is a reduction (as a percentage) of children. I believe (I don’t have a good citation) that number of children is related to income and education level of the parents. If this is true, families in Cary (higher income and education level than Raleigh) would be expected to have fewer children than families in Raleigh.
Also, the term “Millennial” includes college students. Most college students live on or near college campuses. There are several colleges and universities in Raleigh, none in Cary. So one would expect that more people of college age would live in Raleigh than in Cary, reducing our number of Millennials compared to Raleigh.
I do not know how much of the difference between the median age of Cary vs. Raleigh is accounted for by the above two factors (number of children per family and number of college students).
It would be interesting to see the numbers for the 25 to 29 age group to eliminate the effect of college students.
Responding to some e-mail, I should add the following:
Yes, Cary, like everywhere, is getting slightly older. People are living longer, raising the median age. I understand (but don't have the actual statistics) that families are having fewer children. That also raises the median age. This is not a Cary phenomenon, but applies elsewhere as well.
There are several ramifications:
As for types of neighborhoods, there may be a small amount of downsizing as more people are "empty nesters" (generally above 55). But this is limited by the number of people above that age who what room for visiting grandchildren, like their neighborhood, or just don't like the prospect of looking for a new home, packing, moving etc.
The fact that more of us are retired has several effects: Retired people usually have more time to participate in community or recreational activities.
Retired people do not have to commute to a job during rush hour, reducing the use and need for commuter and light rail. Instead, they are more likely to take numerous trips during the day or in the evening for shopping, recreation, or community activities. This could increase the use of buses, particularly during the middle of the day, at night, and on weekends.
Elderly people (much older than retired people) are more likely to need door to door (demand service) transit and very unlikely to use traditional bus service (and particularly rail) that requires walking to a bus stop and then from the bus to the final destination. The demand service is needed at night and on weekends as well as during the week.
Many retirement, continuing care, and other facilities for older people provide this service. However, many elderly people wish to "age in place" - that is, keep their home as long as possible.
As for Cary compared to the rest of Wake County and North Carolina, according to information presented at the Summit Cary has very slightly more households with people older that 65 than Wake county (61.2% rather than 16.1%) but significantly fewer than NC (16.2% vs. 23.9%).
Last Edit: May 29, 2013 16:47:12 GMT -4 by johnshaw