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The South and the West Will Go Grayer Faster

Posted by: Peter Coy on December 1, 2006

As boomers “age in place” and new ones move in, the Sun Belt and Western states will age much faster than the Rust Belt and the Plains states. That’s the prediction of Brookings Institution demographer William H. Frey in a new 108-page study for the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America.oldlady.jpg

With so much population growth in the Sun Belt and Western states, you might think those regions would have increasingly more dynamic and younger populations. It’s true that, Florida aside, their populations are ounger now. But Frey says that people who have moved there in the past are staying and aging, while retirees are continuing to flood in from places like New York and Illinois. As for the Rust Belt and Plains states, their big aged populations aren’t getting bigger—in fact, the oldest of the old are dying off.

The result: Frey predicts that the population of those 65 and older will increase less than 10% from 2000 to 2010 in the following states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

At the other extreme, Frey predicts growth of more than 25% in the 65+ age group in the following states: Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, and Alaska.

Frey’s study has lots of other predictions about suburbs, Hispanic and Asian immigrants, etc. It’s worth checking out.

Reader Comments


December 7, 2006 6:57 PM

I have to say the title of this post is hugely misleading. I and I think most people associate "graying" with an increase in the median age of the population. As we already know, the median age is much higher in the rust belt and the Northeast. And that age is likely to continue to increase, while it may be true that the South and West will gain in the number of seniors, total population will also increase as other age cohorts grow too. In essence, median age increases, but is still less than the Midwest and Northeast, hardly greying faster.

laura weinstein

July 25, 2007 8:07 PM

Could you please give me the demographic report for the hispanic population in florida....where are they settling down in the state...the median age; their family stats; etc. etc. thank you

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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