Sizable baby boomer exodus from New York City is predicted

A worrisome trend faces the Big Apple … a “Boomer flight” is underway as the currently retiring generation of Americans is leaving New York City en masse, carrying with them tens of billions in retirement dollars and lost money to the local economy every year.

An AARP survey of New York City’s voters 50+ in November found more than half of baby boomers (50-64 year olds) said they plan to leave the city when they retire. A new analysis details the bad news for the Big Apple  with “Boomer flight.”

New York's Times Square on a rainy evening.

New York’s Times Square on a rainy evening.

About three-quarters of a million – 762,087 – baby boomers (roughly 53 percent), according to the AARP analysis, are expected to leave the city to retire elsewhere in the coming years, taking anywhere from roughly $12 billion (based on the average yearly Social Security benefit for New Yorkers of $15,600) to a startling $21 billion (based on the average annual retirement income of $28,000 for people 65 or older) a year out of New York City.

New York's Lincoln Center.

New York’s Lincoln Center.

The figures, based on recent estimates, are conservative. And they’ll only get bigger down the road, carrying with them a multiplier effect of lost revenue on the NYC economy. It’s an economic drain that AARP says doesn’t have to happen.

“Dollar figures aside, we’re concerned about why so many boomers are leaving New York City,” said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State. “By making some policy changes, we can make it easier for the age group to live, work and retire right here in New York City.”

“Boomer flight” from NYC:

53 percent  of Baby Boomers say they’ll leave NYC in retirement. Based on today’s U.S. Census numbers, that’s 762,087 Boomers. $12 billion to $21.3 billion, the annual total of retirement dollars expected to go with them. 59% worry about their ability to pay rent in the coming years (even more alarming considering 61 percent rent). 52 percent are extremely or very concerned about affording their utility bills (Con Ed’s residential customers already pay more than twice – 117 percent above – the national average for their electricity). 35% say crime or personal safety is a major problem. 45 percent are caregiving for a loved one.

The exodus trend of baby boomers from New York City should be a major concern for the city’s new mayor.

Bicycling in New York.

Bicycling in New York.

“Literally, the group that elected Bill de Blasio mayor is saying they are leaving the city to retire elsewhere,” added Finkel. “The reasons driving them to do so should be on the front-burner and a huge concern for the new administration as well the City Council.”

Some of the key issues that could help prevent “Boomer flight” include providing more affordable housing, fighting soaring utility costs, helping to make New York more over-50-friendly, and establishing better supports, services and resources to caregivers.

1 Comment

  1. I think the state of New York, not just the city, should be very concerned with the exodus of baby boomers in the coming years. New York is not a retirement friendly state at all with its ever increasing tax structure at the state and local level. The loss of boomers across the state will have a dramatic impact and must be taken seriously. Young people have been leaving New York for years because of the lack of job opportunities and the cost of living, not just in New York City, but around the state.

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