The 20 Cities Where the Most Baby Boomers Will Retire

Hint: Only one is in Florida

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The oldest baby boomers will turn 65 in less than two years. And that’s just the beginning of what Urban Institute researchers are calling a “tsunami of senior growth in the next decade”. The senior population is expected to grow by 36 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This graying of America won’t be spread evenly across the map. The numbers will grow the most rapidly in the intermountain west, the southeast, and especially in Texas, according to a new Brookings Institution analysis. The cities that have gained the most baby boomers so far this decade provide a clue as to which cities will have the most seniors in the next decade, say researchers William Frey, Alan Berube, Audrey Singer, and Jill Wilson. For example, the Urban Institute predicts that Georgia’s senior population will increase by 40 percent between 2010 and 2020 due to the aging in place of baby boomers alone, and only an additional 4 percent will be due to the in-migration of people age 65 and over.

The recession and housing crisis have considerably slowed migration between states and metro areas. About 4.7 million people moved to a new state between 2007 and 2008, down considerably from a record high of 8.4 million people at the turn of the decade. Florida even experienced a loss of domestic newcomers between 2007 and 2008. The amount of people fleeing New York and Chicago has also slowed in recent years. Chances are, if your city has a lot of baby boomers, many are there to stay. Here are the cities the Urban Institute predicts will have the greatest boom in baby boomer seniors.

Areas That Will Experience Senior Growth Due to the Aging of Baby Boomers

              Metro area                                                               Growth rate

  1. Raleigh-Cary, N.C.                                                              31.6
  2. Austin-Round Rock, Texas                                               30.1
  3. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.                          29.8
  4. Boise City-Nampa, Idaho                                                 28.7
  5. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.                                                 27.8
  6. Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.                                                 27.2
  7. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas                          23.7
  8. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas                             22.7
  9. Colorado Springs, Colo.                                                     22.6
  10. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas                               21.5
  11. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.                                     21.0
  12. Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.                              20.8
  13. Albuquerque, N.M.                                                           19.5
  14. Tucson, Ariz.                                                                      19.2
  15. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.           19.1
  16. Salt Lake City, Utah                                                          19.0
  17. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.                       18.2
  18. Denver-Aurora, Colo.                                                        18.1
  19. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.   18.1
  20. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah                                                    18.0
  21. Note: Growth rate refers to the gain in population age 55 to 64 between 2000 and 2007.

    Source: Brookings Institution analysis