Migration in of retirees, migration out of youth pose economic challenges

Migration in of retirees, migration out of youth pose economic challenges, The News-Review (May 22, 2016)

Southern Oregon — the state’s longtime Timber Belt — is gaining a reputation as a retiree magnet. Drawn by the lower cost of living among other factors, retirees, ages 60 to 65, are moving into the region in higher numbers than any other age group. This is a stark contrast to the pronounced out-migration of youth, ages 20 to 29, the region has experienced. As the region struggles to recover from the recession, such demographic shifts pose both present and future economic challenges.

“One of the biggest obstacles facing rural and southern Oregon is demographics. An aging population can result in a lower labor force participation rate, which is cause for concern in stifling future economic growth,” said Josh Lehner, senior economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. “Rural Oregon, like its national counterparts, faces population losses among young working age groups. Those in the root-setting years, between 25 and 34 years old who are beginning careers in earnest and settling down, are important to the long-term vitality of the economy.” (Read more…)