Taking Different Paths: Diversity in Retirement Migration Patterns

Benjamin C. Bolender, Kansas State University

Retirement migration as a development strategy is beginning to receive increased attention from rural policy-makers. However, the causal model of retirement migration that is usually presented is greatly oversimplified. This study attempts to broaden current retirement migration theory and methods by examining counties’ percentile ranks on net migration rates of older people by age, sex and race-ethnicity groups. These ranks are both mapped and modeled through regression analysis. Explanatory variables include natural amenities, average business size, measures of employment concentration in key sectors and demographic indicators such as population size, population change, urbanization and the proportion of people in various older age categories. Results indicate that the model predicts the migration rates of younger old people and non-Hispanic whites much better than for other groups. Finally, the discussion is extended through the exploratory use of measures for health service availability and regression models with spatially lagged dependent variables.

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Presented in Session 192: Retirement Transitions