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Boomer Magnets

Publication Abstract

Frey, William H. 1992. "Boomer Magnets." American Demographics, March.

This article is a condensed version of PSC Research Report No. 234.

This paper seeks to determine which cities attract the greatest numbers of baby boomers (defined as persons ages 25-44) by analyzing census data for MSAs, PMSAs, and NECMAs with populations exceeding 250,000. The fastest-growing "baby-boom magnets" as well as metros where the baby-boom population declined, "baby-boom losers," are listed. Of the magnets listed six, including the top three, are in the south, four in the west, and two in New England. Magnets differed for younger and older boomer populations. The younger boomer list reflects the continued appeal of "bright lists," though tempered by practical concerns; the older boomers, already settled in careers and families, were drawn to areas with a more suburban flavor, though in close proximity to "big city" metros. Black baby boom magnets were either (1) metro areas with suburban character that are accessible to middle-class blacks; (2) major metros that represent new destinations for blacks that have begun to enter the mainstream national labor market; and (3) growing major metros of the South attracting rural-to-urban southern blacks as well as return black migrants from the North. "Boomer losers" tended to either be university communities bidding farewell to graduating student baby-boomers or areas where economic performance was poor during the 1980s.

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