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Over the past 50 years, Americans have steadily gotten older, more bi-coastal, and less likely to move to a new city.

Peter Rogerson, a professor of geography at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, looks at where older Americans are living:

Unsurprisingly, popular retirement states like Florida and Arizona have high concentrations of older Americans. What may be more of a surprise is the broad swaths of elderly running through the Midwest and the Appalachians. These regions have aged significantly, as many younger residents headed toward the coasts. Younger people have also moved out of New England, primarily in search of jobs. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut are among the seven states with a median age of over 40 in 2010; Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida are the others.

Over the last half century, Americans have steadily redistributed themselves, moving from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West. From 1970 to 2010, the Northeast and Midwest grew 15.7 percent, while the South and West nearly doubled in population. The country has also become more urban. The percentage of the population living in urban areas increased by about 7 percentage points between 1970 and 2010. Urbanization increased in all states except Oklahoma and Maine. Despite this trend, many cities are now shrinking – particularly cities in the Northeast and Midwest. More people, particularly young adults, are leaving these places for economic opportunity than are coming in. The percentage of the population living in large cities has declined since 2013, while the percentage living in smaller cities increased from 17.9 to 20.1 percent.

Today, Americans are far less likely to move than they were 50 years ago. In 1968, 19 percent of the population changed their principal place of residence. This figure declined to just 11 percent in 2015. In fact, despite a much larger population today, fewer total people are moving. In 1968, 37.3 million changed residence, while only 34.9 million did so in 2015. Indeed, the mobility rate in 2016 was the lowest it had been in decades. Much of this change is attributable to age. People are less likely to move as they age. In 1968, parents of the baby boomers were in their highly mobile, young adult years, but today boomers are older and more apt to stay where they are.

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