We Are Young

Youth magnet: Houston is home to the young and vibrant, new study says

Youth magnet: Houston is home to young and vibrant, new study says

Houston skyline freeway aerial
Houston is where the seniors aren't. Photo by Jim Olive/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

We knew Houston is where the young and pretty people live, but now the numbers truly back it up. The Bayou City has one of the smallest populations 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 Houston. And not Austin or Dallas either, as all three Texas cities — along with Salt Lake City and Raleigh— are in the bottom five for housing baby boomers.

Only 9.8 percent of Houston’s population is over 65. 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 Houston isn't on the senior shortlist right now, they very might well be a few generations down the line, as the millennials and young families grow older.