Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Amenity Migrants" in Flagstaff AZ, Walworth County WI & Elsewhere

National Public Radio recently ran a segment on "amenity migrants" who are buying vacation homes as weekend getaways and eventually as homes for their active retirement. NPR spoke with Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, who may have coined the term "amenity migrants."

These people, led by baby boomers looking for retirement spots, he says, are settling in some 300 recreation or amenity regions that he has identified, from Western ski towns to New England and the lake country of the upper Midwest. They include places like Flagstaff, Arizona; Grand Traverse County, Michigan; and Walworth County, Michigan (where you can pick your own at the Apple Barn, pictured).

How do you find these places? "In non metropolitan America today, areas with significant natural amenities, recreational opportunities or quality of life
advantages have new prospects for growth and development," wrote Johnson in a 2006 report on rural America. "Many non metropolitan areas that are seeing significant population growth benefit from scenic landscapes, mild climates, proximity to rapidly growing metropolitan areas, or a combination of these elements."

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