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Gerontologist. 2003 Dec;43(6):897-903.

Economic consequences of retiree concentrations: a review of North American studies.

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Center for Demography and Population Health, 603 Bellamy Building, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2240, USA.



The study of patterns of residential mobility among individuals around the age of retirement has led to the recognition that for many reasons-climate and cost of living being the most frequently cited-settlement patterns of comparatively affluent retirees will often differ from those of the working-age population. Increasingly, localities may often seek this type of relocation, on the theory that the newcomers will provide a boost to the local economy through expenditures and tax payments. In addition, there is often the perception that such a strategy will not cost the community much in the way of locally provided public services. The past several years have witnessed a substantial increase in efforts to provide some quantitative estimates on the magnitude of these hypothetical effects.


This article aims at providing a summary assessment of such analyses, incorporating research projects in both the United States and Canada.


Practically all such studies may be characterized as being exclusively short term in nature; that is, they focus more or less exclusively on the near-term implications of retiree inmigration, which do tend to be overwhelmingly positive from an economic or fiscal perspective.


In general, this area of inquiry may be characterized by a paucity of knowledge regarding the longer term effects of such population movement. There has been no effort to analyze the aging in place of the erstwhile newcomers or the failure of the retirement migration process to generate other than a plethora of opportunities for comparatively low-skill, low-wage service employment. Policies intended to foster amenity migration as an economic development tool would greatly benefit from longer term analyses of the economic implications of the process.

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