The Myth of Urban-bound Baby Boomers

Over the last decade, Americans have been given the narrative that Baby Boomers are eager to downsize and move into urban centers in higher-density, multi-story, "walkable" centers.  We've felt that the impetus for such 'talk' was probably more about stakeholders, regional agencies, and monied interests attempting to lead people into such conclusions; what would be more of a boon to the housing industry but convincing A to move to B, while developers lobby for massive densification projects and are helped in their ventures by their friends in local government and regional agencies.  Alas, we digress.  Contrary to the narrative, it appears Baby Boomers are actually fleeing the urban core.  Here's some solid analysis that supports this idea. 

Population Distance from the Core.JPG

"First of all, according to US Census Bureau data, the areas within 5 miles of the urban cores of the 51 metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population lost 66,000 residents between 2000 and 2010 (See Flocking Elsewhere: The Downtown Growth Story). It is implausible for 1,000,000 boomers to have moved into areas that lost 66,000 residents." (Figure above)

"Secondly rather than flock to the city, as the Journal insists, baby boomers continued to disperse away from core cities between 2000 and 2010, as is indicated by data from the two censuses. The share of boomers living in core cities declined 10 percent. This is the equivalent of a reduction of 1.2 million at the 2010 population level (Note). The share of the baby boomer population rose 0.5 percent in the suburbs, the equivalent of 175,000. Outside these major metropolitan areas, the share of baby boomers rose three percent, which is the equivalent of 1,050,000. All of the net increase in boomers , then, was in the suburbs or outside the major metropolitan areas, while all of the loss was in the core cities."