More Boomers Elect to Age in Place

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As baby boomers get older, they'll be more likely to stay put than move to the Sun Belt.

April 01, 2010

Aging boomers want to stay put

The baby boomers are at it again. As they get older, retired or not, they'll be increasingly inclined to stay where they are rather than depart for sunny climes and golf courses. According to a story in the March issue of the AARP Bulletin, the 2010 U.S. Census will show that the number of older Americans (and the median age overall) has increased significantly. The first boomers will turn 65 next year, and quite a few are electing to age in place.

The trend isn't new, of course. Boomers (my generation) aren't typically attracted to the Sun City retirement model. And as they enter their late fifties and early sixties, they've become even more anchored to the homes and communities they know best. They've established careers, raised children, made friends and are often faced with caring for elderly parents — in the same town and often the same house. Once you put down those roots, it's hard to start over again.

William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, recently wrote an interesting article called “Five Myths About the 2010 Census and the U.S. Population.” One of the myths is that the U.S. is getting uniformly older. Frey agrees that over the next 20 years we'll see a surge in senior citizens; however, different parts of the country will be aging at different rates. That's because the child population has declined in some states and increased in others. Census projections for 2020 showed median ages over 40 in Maine, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, compared with below 36 in Utah, Texas, Georgia and California. Frey predicts that this young-old regional divide could intensify over time.

So what does this mean for home builders? Well, it certainly reinforces the adage about real estate being local, and supports the need to do market research.

Read more posts by Susan Bady at www.HousingZone.com/Blogs.

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