[Excerpt of WNPR / CT Public Radio news story by Kay Perkins, July 10, 2023]

Newly-released census data shows that Connecticut’s retirement-age population grew faster than the national average — and the average in Florida. The state’s retirement-age population grew by 3.4%, slightly outpacing Florida’s growth of 3.3%. This places Connecticut well above the national average of 3.1%, but still trailing behind New Hampshire at 4.5%. Retirees now make up about 16% of Connecticut’s total population.

While Democratic lawmakers have touted the lead over Florida as evidence that Connecticut is “an attractive state for retirees,” and connected the increase to low taxes and cost of living, much of this slight edge over Florida is actually just the natural consequence of an influx of baby boomers who settled in Connecticut during the 1980s, according to data scientist Mark Abraham of DataHaven.

“As baby boomers were reaching their 30s, Connecticut had this big surge in population,” Abraham said. “That was when these big companies in finance, insurance and aircraft engine makers were looming in Connecticut.”

The stereotypical Florida retirement is not as common as many would believe, Abraham said, adding most people over 65 prefer to retire in their own homes.

But he cautions that if older residents aren’t vacating their homes, Connecticut’s housing shortage could worsen. Connecticut’s aging population could have serious implications for the state economy. As retirees vacate their jobs, employers will need to find younger people to hire.

“There are other issues too — younger generations are more likely than in the past to live alone,” Abraham said. “So there’s a need for more housing units. Instead of large, four-bedroom homes, you might need more one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.”A housing shortage can also lead to higher housing costs, which will further discourage younger workers from moving to the state, he said, creating a vicious cycle of unaffordable housing and job vacancies.

“If you look at housing construction, Connecticut is almost dead last,” Abraham said. “And if you look at the migration numbers [of younger people], there’s a lot of migration away from [New England] to areas that are building more housing, in the South and the Midwest.”


“You’ll need more support in terms of supportive housing, transportation, and homes that are accessible to people with mobility issues or other disabilities,” Abraham said. “Now is the time to be thinking about what kind of infrastructure is needed to support the older population.”

U.S. Census Data shows the median age in Connecticut's counties, compared to the national median, over time. | Courtesy of DataHaven