Baby Boomers Continue Exodus to Suncoast


The growing opportunities in the Suncoast for senior citizens to pursue an active lifestyle continue to draw baby boomers—persons born between 1946 and 1964. Recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, in fact, indicate that the influx of retirees to the region is one of the strongest in the nation.

The demographics of Suncoast seniors from 2010 to 2013, according to the bureau’s data, showed an increase, with those in 65–69 age bracket rising to 34,676 in 2013 from 33,858 in 2012. Similar gains were noted in ages 70–79.

Population gain from seniors’ entry

Baby Boomers Continue Exodus to Suncoast

In Sarasota County alone, the 65-and-above demographic increased by 4,544 in the July 2012–July 2013 period. Population in the county would have declined were it not for this boomers’ growth, as the number of Sarasota’s working-age adults and children dropped slightly in 2013. The median age in the county now stands at 53.9, compared with 52.6 in 2011, and is now one of the highest in the U.S.

During the same comparative period, most age groups in Manatee County showed gains, with the 65-and-above demographic rising substantially by 3,780. Significant population gains were also observed in lower age groups, as the county became attractive to younger residents because of the availability of affordable housing and Manatee’s proximity to employment opportunities in Tampa. In the past three years, the median age in Manatee increased to 46.8 from 45.8. Florida-wide, the median age rose to 41.4 from 40.8.

Where learning is lifelong

Various factors combine with Florida’s warm and sunny climate for baby boomers to continuously favor retirement destinations like the Suncoast. In Sarasota, there are many venues for cultural, intellectual, and educational stimulation tailor-fit to boomers’ needs.

The seniors’ activities are by no means confined to the ballet, symphonies and concerts held regularly at The Ringling where forums and lectures are likewise calendared on a regular basis.

There are also institutions like the Lifelong Learning Academy, a nonprofit organization with several locations in both Sarasota and Manatee. The academy aims to enrich mature adults’ lives through affordable and relevant educational programs.

Another notable nonprofit is the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) which has been providing programs pertinent to mature adults since 1972. Specifically, this organization offers an expert lecture series for information dissemination and discussion not only on the arts but also on contemporary global issues. SILL is run by an all-volunteer board dedicated to enhanced outreach and modest pricing.

Cornucopia of housing choices

On top of these learning come-ons, varied home buying options provide a robust stimulus for more seniors to settle at the Suncoast. Among the popular choices are the gated, deed restricted communities. Many retirees favor these developments because of their maintenance-free amenities. The landscaping, lawn maintenance and the upkeep of the homes’ exteriors are handled by the homeowners’ association which charges a mandatory membership fee.

Golf communities and active adult neighborhoods are likewise dominant alternatives for Suncoast senior living. Some of the major attractions of these developments are facilities like clubhouses, swimming pools, fitness centers, and a wide selection of venues for social and recreational activities.