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Linda Waite, Health & Well-Being of Adults over 60

William H. Frey photo

Metropolitan Redistribution of the US Elderly: 1960-70, 1970-80, 1980-90

Publication Abstract

Frey, William H. 1992. "Metropolitan Redistribution of the US Elderly: 1960-70, 1970-80, 1980-90." In Elderly Migration and Population Redistribution: A Comparative Study edited by Andrei Rogers. London, UK: Belhaven Press.

Using data from decennial censuses between 1960 and 1990, this article examines the extent to which elderly and non-elderly distribution patterns are becoming less alike. It also explores their implications for differential "population aging" across regions and metropolitan areas. It addresses the following three questions:

  1. What are the recent patterns of growth and distribution of the elderly population across regions and metropolitan areas?

  2. Have non-elderly population shifts led to a greater divergence in elderly-nonelderly distribution since the 1970s?

  3. What do these redistribution processes imply for geographic differences in population aging?

Findings indicate that both elderly and non- elderly redistributions across U.S. regions and metropolitan areas have taken different paths over the past 20 years. As the elderly population has gained access to pensions and greater private savings, there has been an increasing tendency for its members to relocate in "retirement communities" and other resort and recreation areas as an alternative to aging-in-place. At the same time, the non-elderly population is much more responsive to the pushes and pulls of the economy. These findings underscore the importance of monitoring, separately, the redistribution of the elderly and non-elderly populations.

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