Ties that no longer bind? The patterns and repercussions of age-articulated migration

David Plane, Jason Jurjevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Rates of geographical mobility vary greatly, and fairly predictably, across the life course. Our analysis of special county-to-county migration tabulations of Census 2000 data discloses that, when flows are disaggregated by age, radically different patterns of net population redistribution are taking place upward and downward within the national urban hierarchy. The movements at the late-career, empty-nester, and retirement stage are the most "demographically effective" or unidirectional. The elderly fleeing large metropolitan areas have been congregating in micropolitan and rural counties with special climatic and other natural amenities. The opposite net flow is found for younger adults, who have been flocking into megametropolitan conurbations. At the midcareer stage, the net movement is from larger to medium metropolitan areas. We detail the age articulation of county-to-county migration flows with novel graphical portrayals and statistical measures. We give some thoughts on the relationship between intergenerational dependency and migration trends, and we speculate about whether the current patterns of age-articulated movement up and down the urban hierarchy will continue as the baby boom retires and the echo cohorts come of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Aging
  • Life course
  • Migration
  • United States
  • Urban hierarchy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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