We may be getting older, but boomers are still maintaining their power.
Those born in the first ten years of the boomer generation — between 1945 and 1955 — number 36 million, and they will continue to influence communities and real estate markets across the country, especially as they contemplate life after kids and retirement.
We know that these gray lovers are hooking up online through dating sites like Match.com. The fastest-growing demographic for Match.com is those people over 50. Their ranks have swelled by 18 percent in the 12 months ending in June. Users of "OurTime," Match's site for older people, more than doubled over the past year, to 1 million.
The active lifestyles among boomers appear to continue working later than ever. According to a Careerbuilder.com survey, over 60% of workers over 60 indicated they are postponing retirement. And an analysis of those who were 55 to 65 in 2000 and 65 to 75 in 2010 reveals a strong anti-urban bias, with an over 12% drop in city dwellers.
So where are these surviving boomers settling as they enter their likely extended golden years?
Indeed, if boomers do move, notes Sandi Rosenbloom, a noted expert on retirement trends and professor of Planning and Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona, they tend to move to less dense and more affordable regions.
The top cities for aging boomers largely parallel those that appealed to the “young and restless” in an earlier survey. The top ten on our list are all affordable, generally low-density Sun Belt metros: No. 1 Las Vegas, Nev. No. 2 Phoenix, Ariz., No. 3 Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., No. 4 Orlando, Fla., No. 5 Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., No. 6 Raleigh, N.C., No. 7 Austin, Texas, No. 8 San Antonio, Texas, No. 9 Jacksonville, Fla., and No. 10 Charlotte, N.C.-S.C.
“The boomers are staying put more than anyone thought,” Rosenbloom says. “People of that generation tend to own their own homes and stay there. The idea that they are moving to the city really comes from the wishful thinking school of planning.”
The recession has exacerbated this stay-at-home trend. The number of people moving is at its lowest level since the early 1960s. When boomers do decide to move, Rosenbloom notes, they do so largely for prosaic reasons, such as being closer to children or, more important, grandchildren.
An analysis of the Census data reveals that most boomers — as well as those older than them — are staying in the suburbs a lot longer than expected. Many will likely to stay in their homes and old neighborhoods well into their 70s or even 80s, leaving either their home either in an ambulance or to an assisted living facility.
Sources: Forbes and Bloomberg BusinessWeek, August 2011