NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 26, 2007

While Florida's population as a whole will increase 65 percent by 2030, retirees will grow at a much more incomprehensible rate, says Terri Jo Berron, Professor in the Aging Studies Program at Florida State University.

According to research by Dr. David Denslow of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research:

  • The empty nester (age 55 or older, no children at home, one or more workers) population is projected to increase by 101 percent by 2030, the true retirees (age 55 or older, no children at home, no workforce member) will balloon by 175 percent.
  • Almost half the net migration into Florida consists of people age 55 or older; while those ages 25 to 44 arrive in larger numbers, they often leave the state while the older ones stay.

Denslow's research also outlines the economic impact of these two groups:

  • Empty nesters contribute to the economy by working, shopping and owning property, and cost the economy less by consuming fewer tax dollars devoted to public education and the criminal justice system. 
  • Retirees do not work, but they still shop and pay property taxes; they consume more in health and welfare costs, but less in education, criminal justice, and transportation (driving less and not at rush hour).
  • Overall estimates indicate a positive impact on Florida's economy of $3,600 per year, per empty nester, while retirees generate a $1,200 positive impact.

Further, at least at present, Florida is well equipped to handle the population increases:

  • The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) notes that Florida spends a smaller percentage of the state's Medicaid dollars (29 percent) for long-term care than the nation as a whole.
  • In addition, even though Florida leads the nation in the percentage of elders, in raw numbers the state still has 800,000 more people under 18 than over 65.7.

Source: Terri Jo Barron, "Here Come the Boomers," The James Madison Institute, Winter 2007.


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