Big cities are no longer migration grounds for the young, rather they now seem to be attracting a greater share of Baby Boomers, according to an analysis from online real estate database Trulia.
In contrast to what popular perceptions might be about the lure of urban environments for Millennials (ages 20-34), U.S. Census Bureau data release recently on 2013 population growth reveals more Baby Boomers (ages 50-69) are flocking to cities instead of suburban locales.
“Boomer population growth in the past year was also highest in the second quartile of counties (big-city suburbs and lower-density cities), but only slightly ahead of the growth in the top quartile (big, dense cities),” writes Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko.
When compared to their younger cohorts, Baby Boomer population growth skewed more urban than Millennial growth did, Kolko adds.
Geographically, Boomers in the past year have flocked to cities in the South and West, primarily in Texas and the Carolinas.
In Austin, Texas, the Boomer population grew 4.4% from 2012 to 2013—the highest of any metro. Raleigh, N.C., followed at a close second, with a 4.3% increase in its Boomer growth, while Dallas came in third with a 3.5% increase.
The relatively young populations of these metros add to their attraction of Baby Boomers, suggests Kolko, particularly Austin, which he notes has the highest share of Millennials of any large metro.
“That pattern holds more generally—the correlation between a metro’s share of millennials and growth rate of boomers is 0.4, positive and statistically significant,” Kolko writes. “That means that boomers increasingly want to be where millennials live already.”
As a whole, the nation grew older as the oldest Baby Boomers became seniors. The age 65 and older population surged to 44.7 million in 2013, up 3.6% from 2012, according to the Census data.
But, the big city baby boom goes both ways when considering population growth among Americans aged 0-4.
Though the number of children under 5 years old declined in the U.S. overall between 2012 and 2013, it grew fastest in the most urban counties and declined sharply in the least dense counties.
“These new Census data show, therefore, that millennials are not driving urban growth,” Kolko states. “Boomers are urbanizing to some extent. But the strongest population shift toward big cities in the past year has been among the stroller set.”
Read more at Trulia.
Written by Jason Oliva