The Unusual Suspects: Factors That Create Unconventional Retirement Migration Destinations

Benjamin C. Bolender, Kansas State University

Conventional theories and research on retirement migration often focus on natural amenities and recreation opportunities as main drivers. However, there are other kinds of factors that can be shown to attract different kinds of older people. This project aims to describe and explore “unconventional retirement destinations” that do not fit into the usual theoretical and methodological mold looking specifically for the influence of economic, health, and socio-cultural factors. Using regression residual analysis, 108 counties were identified as having a high rate of net inmigration at older ages while not empirically conforming to established ideas of the causal processes usually involved. This project combines national county level spatial statistics analysis with localized primary data collection from eight URD case study sites to draw a picture of where, how, and why unconventional retirement destinations are formed. This knowledge will help inform future policy decisions on local development and expenditures on advertising.

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Presented in Session 71: Internal Migration across the Life Course