The South and the West Will Go Grayer Faster

As boomers
Peter Coy

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.


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.