Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Migration and Geographic Distribution - Geographic Distribution, Why Does Age Distribution Vary Across Areas?, Retirement Migration, Why People Move In Later Life

Migration and Geographic Distribution - Retirement Migration

age migrants local public move

As noted above, most older people age in place, and retirement migration is not a common experience. In any given year, only about 1 percent of the older population moves from one state to another (by comparison, about 6 percent of people in their twenties make an interstate move each year). Nevertheless, researchers have studied the motivations of those who move around the time of their retirement. Older migrants tend to mention several considerations as being important in deciding where to relocate. Compared to younger people, they express less concern about employment opportunities and more concern about cost of living. Thus, areas with low taxes and a low cost of services are, other things being equal, particularly attractive to retirees. Also important are location-specific amenities, such as warm weather, attractive environments (e.g., seashores or mountains), and good health care services and facilities. Areas that combine several of these attractive features are magnets for retirement migrants.

A good deal of attention has been given to the economic impact that retirement migrants have on the areas they move into. The conclusion has been that older migrants provide an economic boom to their destination communities. Those who make a retirement move tend to be healthy, married, and have above average incomes. They thus contribute to the local community through their consumption and the taxes they pay, and they do not compete for the jobs that they help to create. Further, they do not draw heavily on local public service expenditures, such as schools. The health care expenses they have add to, rather than drain, local resources because they are paid for from Medicare, from other insurance policies, and out-of-pocket. Based on these findings, some argue that developing policies to attract retirees may be a good strategy for promoting economic growth in a community. Others note, however, that increasing the percentage of senior citizens in a community may alter local politics and decrease public support for public schools and other public services that older people seldom use.

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