We Are Young

Where do the baby boomers live? Not in Austin, apparently

Where do the baby boomers live? Not in Austin, apparently

austin skyline zilker
Austin is where the seniors aren't. Wikimedia Commons

We knew Austin is where the young and pretty people live, but now the numbers truly back it up. Despite Texas being named by WalletHub as one of the top 10 places to retire, a different analysis shows that Austin has the smallest population of baby boomers in the country.

NewGeography pored over 2014 American Community Survey data for the country’s 53 largest metropolitan statistical areas to track where Americans over 65 are living. The answer: not Austin. And not Dallas or Houston either, as all three Texas cities — along with Salt Lake City and Raleigh, North Carolina — are in the bottom five for housing baby boomers.

Only 9.4 percent of Austin's population is over 65, despite a 16.3 percent growth in the senior share of the population from 2010 to 2014. Compare that to Tucson, Arizona (17.7 percent), and Jacksonville, Florida (14.2 percent), and it’s hard to deny our standing. Oddly enough, it’s not just the sunny standbys that are attracting seniors; the Rust Belt states are also climbing in senior popularity.

The website posits that this is not due to weather, per se, or even older, declining industries, but rather the migration patterns to lower-cost, typically growing cities. Once they planted roots, these folks aren’t inclined to leave, meaning that the senior populations in these areas are here to stay.

Another theory? Older and younger generations are moving to be closer together.

"Many parents are following their migrating children (and, more important, grandchildren) to these areas," the article states. "A recent study ranks this among the biggest reason seniors move. Similarly, as many as one in four millennials has moved to be closer to their parents, often to enjoy life in more affordable communities and get help with raising their kids."

Where seniors move — if they move at all — will do much to shape America’s future geography, the report says.

"In some places, notably in the Rust Belt, an aging population may suffer from the lack of young people to generate new wealth, pay taxes, or provide them with services. In many others, notably in the Sun Belt, areas now built around youthful migration will have to prepare to accommodate many more aging people," it states. "And perhaps the biggest challenges will be felt by suburbs that, built for young families, now have to accommodate a growing senior population."

That means that even though Austin, Dallas, and Houston aren’t on the senior shortlist right now, they very might well be a few generations down the line, as all those young families grow older.