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Georgia ranks 20th as retirement destination; Baby Boomers a growing segment of metro Atlanta’s population

George Bush, parachute A new survey shows Georgia ranks 20th on a list of good places to retire. Metro Atlanta is home to a growing proportion of Baby Boomers, who are getting closer to 90th birthday, such as the one George Bush celebrated in 2014. Credit: aol.com

By David Pendered

A new analysis shows Georgia ranks 20th in the nation in terms of its desirability as a place to retire. Meanwhile, Census figures show the region is graying and the fastest growing age group is aged 45 years to 64 years.

George Bush, parachute

George Bush parachuted on his 90th birthday. Such an extravagance could be in reach for the growing proportion of baby boomers in metro Atlanta, as the state ranks 20th as an affordable retirement destination. Credit: U.S. Army

The retirement ranking is based on a comparison of 50 states and the District of Columbia. The comparison is based on three dimensions: Affordability, quality of life, and health care.

Affordability represents 40 percent of the ranking. The other categories are weighted at 30 percent each.

The analysis was conducted by WalletHub, a personal finance company. The report is intended to provide information to folks who continue to work because they need the money. Nearly a third of all non-retirees have neither retirement savings nor pensions, according to a statement WalletHub released.

The statement noted that affordability is a major component of the decision on where to retire. But other factors are significant:

“If retirement is still a big question mark for you because of finances, we recommend you consider relocating to a retirement-friendly state — one that will let you keep more money in your pocket without drastically modifying your lifestyle….

“Of course, affordability shouldn’t be your only priority in retirement, which is why our analysis also explores health-related factors and overall quality of life.

Here’s how Georgia ranked in an array of categories in the WalletHub ananlysis:

  • 15th – Adjusted cost of living;
  • 8th – Annual cost of in-home services;
  • 24th – WalletHub ‘Taxpayer’ Ranking’;
  • 37th – Percent of employed residents aged 65 years and older;
    WalletHub, adjusted cost of living

    Three states with the lowest adjusted cost of living are in the south. Credit: wallethub.com

  • 39th – Museums per capita;
  • 23rd – Theaters per capita;
  • 47th – Percent of the population aged 65 years and older;
  • 44th – Property crime rate;
  • 41st – Life expectancy;
  • 37th – Number of health-care facilities per capita.

In terms of the graying population, an analysis released by the Atlanta Regional Commission provided some surprising figures. The ARC’s report is dated September 2011.

The trend line exposed by the ARC report seems to continue. A quick read of the American Community Survey for the years 2013 and 2014 shows growth rates similar to those in the ARC reports. The Census conducts the ACS between its decennial reports.

Headlines from the ARC report include:

“Those 45 and older now comprise 34 percent of the region’s population

  • “Atlanta has always been a relatively young place. In 2000, those between 10 and 29 were the largest of the age groups analyzed, as shown in Figure 1. While that remains true in 2010, the share of that age group has declined, while the shares of those ages 45-64 and those 65 and older increased. Collectively, those 45 and older made up almost 34 percent of the population in 2010, compared to just over 28 percent in 2000.”

“Children: Share of children dropped between 2000 and 2010

  • “Although the populations of those under 5 (20 percent increase) and those between 5 and 9 (22 percent increase) grew during the last decade, their shares of the total population dropped, indicating the overall aging of the region.”

The ARC report showed the proportion of metro Atlanta residents aged 45 to 64 grew from 20.8 percent, in 2010, to 25 percent, in 2010.

The ACS report on metro Atlanta showed the upward trend continued. In 2013, the proportion of residents in the 45 to 64 bracket was 25.3 percent. In 2014, the figure is 26.4 percent. The ACS reported a margin of error of 0.1 percent.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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