Why No City Can Afford to Forget About Seniors
Traditionally, mayors and economic developers have focused their efforts on making their communities great places for families, emphasizing good schools, up-to-date infrastructure, and low crime rates. Over the past decade or so, increasing attention has been paid to attracting younger talent. But one age group has factored much less in the conversation: older Americans.
10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day.
That makes little sense, especially given the size and wealth of this age cohort. America’s median age is getting higher, fueled by the aging of its biggest demographic group, the baby boomers. Today, over a quarter of the American population, 81.5 million people, is between 45 and 65 years old, and 13 percent (40.2 million people) are 65 years or older. Ten thousand baby boomers will turn 65 every daythrough 2031.
This leads to several crucial lines of inquiry, many of which I’ll be talking about in more depth this afternoon at the The Atlantic‘s “Generations” forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. But the most obvious question planners and community builders must now answer is: Where are today’s older Americans going to be living? Here’s one hint: fewer of them are moving to golf resorts in Florida, Arizona, and other Sun Belt centers than you might think. While many seniors prefer to, or are forced to, retire in place, significant numbers of them are mobile. They move less frequently than their younger counterparts, but Americans over the age of 65 are the most likely to move the farthest distances.
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