During 2000-20, baby boomer migration will likely contribute to rural population growth

A line chart showing the average annual net migration rates by age, in years 1980 to 2000.

Nonmetro population loss from net migration is heavily concentrated among young adults, beginning with high school graduation. Urban destinations draw young singles seeking jobs, affordable rental housing, social opportunities, and creative cultural environments. Rural migration is highest early in the retirement process and declines sharply as physical activity becomes more limited and health care needs increase. The oldest baby boomers turn 74 years old in 2020 and, if long-term migration patterns persist, will be less likely to make moves to rural settings, will be more likely to move back to metro areas, and often will move to be closer to caretaker relatives. This chart appeared in the report, Baby Boom Migration and Its Impact on Rural America, ERR-79, August 2009.

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