Baby Boomers Move Near Protected Lands, Help Drive Economies

Protected federal lands (such as Wilderness or National Parks) not only preserve unique landscapes, but have the potential to attract in-migrants such as baby boomers, which in turn help support a robust local economy.

The Baby Boom generation is retiring in droves (up to 10,000 each day), and many of these newly-minted retirees are on the move. But where are they moving to? The criteria are as varied as the retirees, and include housing, climate, and family. But as research by Headwaters Economics and others has shown, boomers are also moving to places with protected public lands.

Retiree Migration and Protected Public Lands

Protected federal lands (such as Wilderness or National Parks) not only preserve unique landscapes and natural resources, but have the potential to attract in-migrants such as baby boomers, which in turn help support a robust local economy.

This chart shows the difference in migration rates between counties with low and high levels of protected public lands during the past 40 years for three different age groups: all seniors 55 and older, those 55-64 or “pre-retirees”, and retirees aged 65-74. [These patterns also hold for each decade.]