Economic Development and Human Resources

Grand Rapids ranks among 'fastest-growing' retirement markets in US

March 19, 2014
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Grand Rapids is one of the top places in America to spend your golden years.

The Grand Rapids-Wyoming market ranks 10th in the ranking of “America's Fastest-Growing Retirement Places” by NerdWallet, a personal finance website.


The ranking posted last week is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

To compile the ranking, NerdWallet divided the number of people 65 and older by the total population in each of the nation’s 75 largest metropolitan areas in both 2007 and 2012.

The site then ranked those markets according to the highest rates of growth of residents 65 years and older.

A top state

The Detroit-Warren-Livonia market also ranks fourth.

The only other state to with two markets ranked in the top 10 is Arizona: the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale market ranks first, and Tucson ranks seventh.

The market

So, why is Michigan so attractive to seniors?

“Generally, with a lot of places on the list, one trend we noticed is milder-weather places, like Arizona, but, obviously, Michigan doesn’t fit that,” said Sreekar Jasthi, an analyst at NerdWallet. “I think the relatively low cost of living — that’s probably a significant factor.”

Jasthi also noted that with the rise in an aging population, Grand Rapids could see a boom in retirement living communities and senior facilities, as well as higher education institutions offering more programs for seniors.

“It’s possible that jobs could be opened up with people retiring, but that’s affected also by the local economy,” Jasthi said.

"America's Fastest-Growing Retirement Places"

1.   Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz.
2.   Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash.
3.   Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.
4.   Detroit-Warren-Livonia
5.   Raleigh-Cary, N.C.
6.   Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
7.   Tucson, Ariz.
8.   Jacksonville, Fla.
9.   Richmond, Va.
10. Grand Rapids-Wyoming

Source: NerdWallet, 2014

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