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August 13, 2008

Retirees and economic development

When people think of economic development, they usually think about bringing in a factory, processor or some other company, but one of the biggest societal trends is the emerging retirement of the 78-million-strong baby boomers. Can these retirees be a source of economic development?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"They absolutely can, and in fact, many communities right here in North Carolina are doing that. What these communities realize is that if you attract baby boomers to come to your community - retired baby boomers - to come to your community to retire, they're going to bring income. They're going to bring their pensions. They're going to bring their Social Security. They're going to spend a lot of that income in your community. And of course, that means that's going to generate demand for new consumer service businesses, from food to health to financial. And then on the cost side, what communities like about well-heeled retirees is they don't bring children to educate. Their children are gone, and in fact, if you look at the local level, children and the education of those children is the biggest local public expense. So you're absolutely right, retirees can be a big source of economic development for local communities."

Posted by Dave at August 13, 2008 08:00 AM