Officials in the mid-South say there is a trend among retirees: those initially thinking they would retire to Florida or the Southwest are instead coming to places like North Carolina and other southern states, according to a recent article in The New York Times. Census data analyzed by the Brookings Institution show that mid-South locations were showing some of the most rapid increases in 65 and older populations. Raleigh, for instance, is at the top of that list, with its 65-and-older population increasing by 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 and its 55-to-64 population growing by 97 percent in that same period. Other mid-South areas with increases of more than 35 percent of 65-and-older people include Charlotte and its surrounding region, the area north of Atlanta, and the southern Appalachian region near Chattanooga.
“We knew anecdotally we were attracting more and more retirees, but now we want to encourage it,” said Assistant Sec. Lynn Minges. In 2010, the state legislature gave Commerce the go-ahead to specifically aim a website and ad campaign, RetireNC, at people older than 55. There are even Certified Retirement Communities, mostly in smaller cities like Asheboro and Lumberton with hospitals, recreation, and available lower-cost housing that appeal to retirees.