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Impending Boom

Posted on Friday, February 4, 2011 at 08:28AM by Registered CommenterLon Langston | CommentsPost a Comment | References4 References

There is a boom coming to the economy of the southeastern United States that will make the period between 1991 and 2007 look like a downturn. The metro Atlanta county where I live was one of the fastest growing in the nation, before the great recession. And the factors that caused that growth, in this county and state, and other southeastern states, are still in place. But now two more factors will turbo-charge the population growth and economic prosperity of the bottom right quarter of the country.

We Americans are a tough, stubborn bunch. We will endure a lot of hardship before making a radical change. But, after getting knocked down repeatedly, common sense trumps blind resolve. And after seven storms in seven weeks piled off-the-chart amounts of snow on the mid-western and northeastern parts of the U.S., even diehard yankees have had enough.

Being from Atlanta, it was hard for me to fathom why anyone would choose to continue to live “up north.” Then I went to work for a company with its headquarters in Syracuse, New York. For six years I worked with a bunch of folks who loved the winter white stuff so much that they chose to live where tons of lake-effect snow buried their homes, cars, workplaces every year.  

Only they didn’t love it. They loved complaining about it, but definitely not living in it. Every winter, as the white ground and gray sky lingered on and on and on, I would observe the downwardly-spiraling mental states of my northern co-workers. Some took the leap and moved to places (like Atlanta) with practically no snow, but for most the spring sprung just in time, year after year, to keep their snow-frustration from crossing the Rubicon (i.e. I-40). 

This winter, though, will be the tipping point. A vast number of our fellow Americans from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey will be migrating to the land of short winters, (almost) no snow, affordable housing (for the price of a postage-stamp-sized abode up north, a mcmansion can be had in the sunny southeast), and the world’s busiest airport (so their crazy relatives, who stayed behind, can come visit).

Additionally, as the oldest of the boomers reach age 65 this year, the decades-long phenomenon of snow birds - older folks flying south for winter - will explode. And 2011 is just the beginning; the boomer bulge in the population graph is 18 years long. And boomers, unlike the generation before, have a well-earned reputation for leading their lives on their own terms. Boomers aren’t going to take it anymore. Their move south will be year-round and permanent.

Just the fact that so many people are reaching such an age would necessarily increase the number of folks migrating south, but the serial snow storms will exacerbate the northern exodus. And the boomers will live longer and stay young longer than any people in history, so their impact will be felt in the warmer climes for decades. 

The groundhogs were unanimous, Wednesday, in predicting an early spring. I predict Spring will bring moving day, not only for boomers, but for their children and grandchildren and many others.  

Thank you for reading this post. If you found it enjoyable, enlightening, edifying, useful…please recommend it to your friends, family, co-workers, customers, vendors…And please check out other Point28 posts below. Thank You! –Lon  

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