Recent Relocation Patterns Among Older Adults in the United States : Who, Why, and Where

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
Journal / PublicationJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number1
Online published19 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


PROBLEM, RESEARCH STRATEGY, AND FINDINGS: Residential relocation is a way for older adults to cope with income changes, health changes, and other life cycle events such as the loss of a partner. The number of movers aged 60 and older increased by 1.4 million from 2010 to 2019 in the United States. Therefore, it is timely to examine older adults’ recent relocation patterns. Using multiple national-level data sources, we asked two questions: First, who are movers among older adults, and why are they moving? Second, what are their destination regions and neighborhoods? Results show that movers tend to be renters, those with lower incomes, those with higher housing cost burdens, and those who live alone. Although older adults’ primary reason for relocation is to live closer to their families, baby boomers younger than 70 have more heterogeneous moving reasons than older cohorts. We classify older adult movers into three types: aging adapters (56.9% of movers), suburb lovers (37.5% of movers), and long-distance movers (5.6% of movers).
TAKEAWAY FOR PRACTICE: Our findings suggest short- and long-term strategies for planners to help older adults meet their heterogeneous residential needs. Practitioners should take steps to increase housing affordability for older adults, such as through changes in land use controls, by creating more age-restricted and age-inclusive communities to accommodate the diverse needs of movers among older adults, and by promoting age-friendly ride-hailing and public transit systems.

Research Area(s)

  • age-friendly communities, housing, housing affordability, older adults, residential relocation