How has America changed since first Super Bowl?

WASHINGTON — A larger, older and more ethnically diverse America will watch Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 than did when the National Football League aired its very first Super Bowl in 1967.

The U.S. population in 1967 was 197.5 million, compared with 322.8 million today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And the median age of the U.S. population was 28.1, compared with 37.7 now.

There also are nearly five times as many foreign-born people living in the United States today than there was 49 years ago — 42.4 million versus 9.6 million — with Mexico the leading country of origin now. In 1967, the leading country of origin was Italy.

Some things today are actually cheaper than they were in 1967.

The average cost of a gallon of gas in 1967 was 33 cents, or $2.13 per gallon in inflation adjusted 2015 dollars, compared with the average cost of a gallon of gas today of $1.86. Milk, in 1967, was $1.03 per gallon, or $7.32 adjusted for inflation, compared with $3.31 per gallon today.

Sunday will be only the second time the NFL’s championship game will be held in the San Francisco Bay area, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The last one was the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium in 1985, when the 49ers beat the Dolphins, 38-16.

Other “How Things Have Changed” since the first Super Bowl facts, courtesy the U.S. Census Bureau, 1967 versus 2016:

  • Median price of a new single-family home: $22,700 versus 282,800.
  • Number of people age 65 and older: 19.1 million, versus 46.2 million.
  • Life expectancy at birth: 70.5 years, versus 78.8 years.
  • Inflation adjusted median income (men/women): $45,000/$26,000 versus $49,000/$31,000.
  • Adult population with at least a high school diploma: 51.1 percent versus 88.3 versus.
  • Active-duty military personnel: 3.4 million versus 1.3 million.
  • Most popular baby names: Michael and Lisa versus Noah and Emma.

Northern California also speaks to the nation’s diversity. The Census Bureau says 51.8 percent of San Jose metro residents five and older that speak a language other than English at home. The national average is 21.1 percent.

The first Super Bowl was held Jan. 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 35-10.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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