Baby-Boomers Dig Suburbia; Cities Like New York, Not So Much

Joel Kotkin of the nonprofit think tank the New America Foundation notes in a Thursday Wall Street Journal op-ed the remarkably dull effect the baby boomers seem to be having on the national housing market.

The proclivity of boomers to buy and stay in single-family houses was one reason for the unexpected housing boom of the past decade. They not only moved to suburbia, but they hung out there much longer than anyone expected.

So, instead of moving to gentrified cities like New York for some sort of grittier urban edge, the baby boomers have largely decided to grow old in the very suburbs they supposedly fled in their youths.

The larger trends reveal the vast majority of boomers are actually going nowhere; according to the 2000 census, less than 2% cross state lines every year. Only a small number of those who move, according to a new study from the Research Institute for Housing America, choose to go back to the city. Many more, it appears, either head in to the suburbs, or move even further out.

Strawberry Fields Forever, indeed. – Tom Acitelli