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Retirement Exodus to Sun Belt Accelerates

Last update on: Feb 10 2020

After pausing for a few years due to the financial crisis and other factors, the number of Americans moving from the Northeast and Midwest to the South increased in 2016. The number of people moving south still is a small amount of the Baby Boomer population, and most people stay near their long-time residences after retiring. But the number of people making the move increased in 2016. It will be interesting to see if the uptick continues as the Baby Boomers age and prices in the south remain reasonable. This story has details.

Sun Belt migration fell by almost half between 2005 and 2010 as aging baby boomers delayed retirement in the wake of both plunging home prices and stocks, and the “sand states” suffered from record foreclosures. Moreover, fewer job opportunities in the wake of the most severe recession since the 1930s prompted fewer job-related moves.

“Think of the recession as freezing people in place — now that is thawing,” said Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer and public policy professor at the University of New Hampshire. “States with histories of slow growth due to large domestic migration losses — which did better during the recession — are starting to see less growth again.”




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