Nonearnings Income Migration in the United States: Anticipating the Geographical Impacts of Baby Boom Retirement

Peter B. Nelson

WP#2004-31

Abstract

This paper highlights geographic regions gaining and losing investment and social security income (collectively referred to as nonearnings income) through migration of baby boomers and their predecessors. There is a consistent Rustbelt to Sunbelt shift in nonearnings income due to migration, as well as movement down the urban hierarchy into nonmetropolitan destinations. The analysis further indicates migration of those over age 55 contributes to greater levels of economic disparity across space. Regions like the Plains are losing a higher proportion of well- to-do migrants in this age group, as individuals move to high amenity destinations in the Rocky Mountains. Such destinations are likely to enjoy significant economic benefits as these new sources arrive. The places of origin, however, are left with less-well-off populations posing significant social and economic problems. In contrast, baby boomer migration appears to benefit nonmetropolitan territories in all regions, and baby boomers with higher levels of per capita economic resources appear to be responsible for these nonmetropolitan income gains.