Baby boomers in Maryland and across the nation may not be returning to urban areas as many predicted.
Recent trends in development, such as emphasis on mixed-use and walkability, have been built in part because it was anticipated baby boomers, those born between 1945 and 1964, age they will want to downsize from larger suburban properties to more convenient urban style living. But according to a new report released by RealtyTrac, so far that’s not the case.
Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, said the trend is in part because of economic pressures on boomers in the aftermath of the Great Recession. As a result, they are “moving to lower populated areas which have slower home price appreciation.”
The real estate information firm analyzed Census data for the years between 2007 and 2013, and found the percentage of boomers making up Baltimore’s population fell 11.5 percent; in Washington, the decline was 7.1 percent in Washington. Montgomery County, which has urban areas in Silver Spring and Bethesda, experienced a 6 percent decrease in the boomers’ share of the population.
On the other hand, data showed boomers increasing their share of the population in rural areas in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Talbot County showed an increase of boomers of 17 percent; it was 8.2 percent in Dorchester County and 6.6 percent in Wicomico County. In Garrett County, the western-most jurisdiction in the state, the boomer’s share of the population increased 9.4 percent.
Worcester County experienced the largest increase in the percentage of boomers in the state. — 26 percent. That hike can be attributed in part to Ocean City and surrounding beaches, which are popular retirement destinations.
Meanwhile, predictions that millennials would be drawn to more urban areas appears to be coming true.
The percentage of millennials making up Baltimore’s population increased 11.28 percent. Washington has seen its millennial population skyrocket, increasing by 34.27 percent. Suburban areas close to cities such as Baltimore, Montgomery and Howard counties also reported an increase in the percentage of millennials present in their populations. Many of these areas include more densely developed areas such as Towson and Columbia that have embraced urban styles of development.
Anne Arundel County, which saw an increase of 13 percent, had the greatest increase of millennials in the state. The western portion of county has seen an increase of jobs for contractors supporting the U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade.
Millennials are also fleeing many of the rural areas in the state. The analysis found the percentage change in the population of millennials fell by 18.45 percent in Carroll County, 13.67 percent in Queen Anne’s and 12.43 percent in Cecil County.