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Census Bureau releases report on domestic migration of older Americans

Where people live is especially important as people age. Life changes including retirement; children leaving the household; possible physical, mental, and cognitive declines; and changes in disability status influence the housing preferences of older adults. These changes may require changes in a person’s or family’s living arrangements. Domestic Migration of Older Americans: 2015 – 2019, a report supported in part by NIA and released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, describes the migration patterns of older adults to help provide key insights on this important topic.

Overhead shot of suburban neighborhood with roundabout

Following are a few key findings:

  • Although older adults are far less likely to change their home residence than younger people, more than 3 million adults age 65 and older move every year. Larger proportions of the oldest old population — people age 85 and over — moved, compared to those age 65 to 84.
  • Older adults living with at least one disability were found to be more likely to move than those with none. However, individuals with a disability who moved were likely to relocate within their same county.
  • The southern and western states were the most popular destinations for older adults who move. Among the states, Florida gained the most older people, while New York had the greatest number of people leave the state.

These migration estimates and patterns could provide critical data for federal, state, and local governments, policymakers, and businesses to support community planning. For example, communities with high proportions of older adults may want to ensure that their public transit routes stop at grocery stores and pharmacies.

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