Big Growth, Little Places
You can literally breathe it in. Less smog, less congestion, fewer crimes, and cheaper house prices are only a few of the things drawing retirees away from the city. Small-town living is becoming very attractive to retirees, especially in states such as Colorado and Wyoming, says Brookings Institution demographer William Frey.
The old image of aging urbanites fleeing the big, gray cities of the Northeast and Midwest for sunny Florida and Arizona has given way to an active new breed of well-educated retirees who want to work part time or run small businesses, pursue hobbies, get involved in community activities, and stay connected with family.
Typical of this new retiree haven is Gillette, Wyo., where Mayor Duane Evenson says "seasoned citizens" enjoy a growing economy, fine medical care, and moderately priced housing.
Frey looked at U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 to 2004 and found that the small-town communities listed at right had the greatest growth rate of people over the age of 55.
Although no Florida town made the top 10, Palm Coast was No. 11.
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
1. Gillette, Wyo.
3. Juneau, Alaska
4. Edwards, Colo.
5. Jackson, Wyo.
6. Bozeman, Mont.
7. St. Marys, Ga.
8. Rock Springs, Wyo.
10. Evanston, Wyo.
William Frey, Brookings Institution
This story appears in the March 13, 2006 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.