If your airline flights and restaurant meals seem a bit quieter, it's not your imagination.

The 2010 census reveals children now comprise only 24 percent of the US population, a two-point drop in the past 20 years. Experts predict it will fall another percentage point by 2050, while the group comprised of people 65 and older is expected to rise from 13 percent to 19 percent due to the aging of baby boomers.

Compare this to the numbers seen in 1900, when kids made up as much as 40 percent of the population, compared to only a four percent share for seniors. And until 1980, the share of children generally stayed above 30 percent before it began to fall amid declining birth rates, primarily among white families.

"There are important implications for the future of the US because the increasing costs of providing for an older population may reduce the public resources that go to children," said William P. O'Hare, a senior consultant with the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, a children's advocacy group.

That said, there are actually 1.9 million more US children now than in the year 2000 -- a 2.6 percent increase in the past decade. The highest growth was seen among racial and ethnic minorities. Right now, 54 percent of the nation's kids are white while 23 percent are Hispanic, 14 percent are black, and four percent are Asian.

[New York Times]