Black People : BLACK RETIREES MIGRATING SOUTH...

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Isaiah, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    By Haya El Nasser,
    USA TODAY
    Thu Dec 8, 6:49 AM ET



    Patricia Lewis is like many other professionals who reach retirement age. She's widowed. Her three children are grown and married. Suddenly, the dream home in Stafford, Va., that she planned to spend the rest of her life in seems too big and requires too much maintenance.


    But its value has almost doubled. She cashes in, moves from the Washington, D.C., exurb and heads south. She buys a new, smaller home in an active-adult community for far less and basks in the warmer climate and less harried pace.


    "I figured I could take that money and dump it into a home someplace else, a quieter area with not a lot of traffic and where there are a lot of activities," says Lewis, 61, a computer programmer who retired after 26 years at the Defense Department. She now lives in Sun City Hilton Head, a sprawling development of homes on lagoons, nature trails and golf courses.


    It's a familiar tale in a graying nation of more than 63 million people ages 55 and older. But until recently, African-Americans such as Lewis played only a tiny role in the fast-growing retirement migration fueled by aging baby boomers. That may be changing. Blacks' earnings are rising, and so are their homeownership rates. Skyrocketing real estate values in metropolitan areas and a desire to return to Southern roots are prompting a mini-wave of retirement moves among blacks looking for a lower cost of living as well as fun and sun.


    "The in-migration market has almost always exclusively been white," says Dan Owens, founder of Carolinas Active Retirement Association, a group of businesses that target retirees to relocate to North Carolina and South Carolina. "As baby boomers come along, there's a new generation with wealth and mobility in all segments."


    That may be why:


    • African-Americans are showing up in the glossy brochures and promotional videos of Del Webb Corp.'s active-adult communities, such as Sun City Hilton Head here in Bluffton, a town settled in 1825 as a summer retreat for rice and cotton plantation owners.


    • In affluent Sarasota, Fla., Realtor Peggy Hairston, an African-American who moved from New York 26 years ago, reports an influx of wealthy black executives from suburbs in the Northeast and Midwest. Las Vegas Realtor Phyllis Schwartz says new luxury high-rise condos there are attracting rich blacks from Western states.


    • Maryland developer Steve Stavrou built Cameron Grove, a housing development for people 55 and older in Prince George's County, a suburb of Washington in which blacks make up almost two-thirds of the county's population.


    • Martin County, N.C., (pop. 25,000) where the percentage of non-whites is about 47% and as high as 89% in some towns, is wooing black retirees, including military veterans. Targeting retired African-Americans who grew up there and moved away is just one part of the county's economic development strategy to replace 800 jobs lost from 1999 to 2003, says Matthew Shulman, coordinator of the Martin County Entrepreneurial Assistance Program. Retirees can lift a region's economy. They pay taxes and want stores, doctors and restaurants.


    "We do not want to be known as a red, brown, yellow, black or white retiree destination but as a place where the welcome mat is open to all who can contribute," he says. But "when we market to the military, we understand that a good percentage of them are going to be African-Americans."


    Shulman estimates that a UPS truck driver or a postal worker in the Northeast retires with a pension of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. "They have a house that they've owned for 20 or 25 years and paid $50,000 to $70,000," he says. "They sell the house and it brings $220,000. They come here and buy the same house they had there and spend $75,000."


    An untapped market


    Until now, African-Americans have been largely ignored by developers of retirement communities.


    Blacks make up about 13% of the U.S. population. They have been much more likely than whites to stay put when they retired or to move only if they needed someone else to take care of them, according to research by Don Bradley, a social scientist at East Carolina University.


    "Most of the communities that are trying to attract retirees don't really care what color they are as long as they're affluent," says Gene Warren, a Phoenix-based consultant who helps cities and states target retirees on the move.


    Upward mobility is a big factor.


    "This is really the first wave of black seniors who got established into the middle class," says William Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institution who has studied the large-scale return of blacks to the South that began in the 1990s. "This is the first wave of black baby boomers who are starting to get into active adult age ... who were able to benefit from civil rights legislation and were able to get in to the middle class."

    Family connections are paramount for many black families, he says. That's why more blacks are returning to Southern states where they were born and still have relatives. The potential for that migration to continue is huge. According to Frey's analysis, most blacks 55 and older who live in the West, Midwest and Northeast were born in the South.

    Joining the middle class usually means owning a home. This decade's real estate boom and astronomical rates of appreciation may have intensified black homeowners' desire and ability to move after retirement:

    • In 1994, fewer than 43% of black households owned homes. Ten years later, almost half did, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Some of the largest increases in black homeownership were among young blacks. But blacks 55 and older are much more likely to own homes.

    "That is their largest form of financial investment because, typically, they didn't get into stocks and mutual funds," says Frank Hefner, economist at the College of Charleston (S.C.). "If they bought a house in Detroit, even in a nondescript neighborhood in the '50s and '60s, those houses appreciated, and they'll have a windfall. They can come back (home in the South) and all of a sudden live in much better housing."

    • Some of the most dramatic housing price increases are in city neighborhoods and suburbs that have large black populations. Gentrification of poor and working-class neighborhoods such as Takoma Park, a neighborhood that straddles the Washington-Maryland line, and Jamaica Plain in Boston can create a substantial nest egg for retirees ready to cash out.

    The demand for housing in or close to urban centers "is giving an exit strategy to boomers who no longer need to be in the city," says David Drinkwater, president of Grand Gables Realty Group in Scituate, Mass., outside Boston.

    • In metropolitan areas of the Northeast and West, prices have soared. A third-quarter report by the National Association of Realtors shows double-digit price gains in 69 of 147 metropolitan areas studied. The median price of a single-family home climbed almost 15% in a year to $215,900.

    "A lot of us have reached an economic plateau in our lives," Patricia Lewis says. "Before, the best we could hope for is to retire on Social Security."

    Moving south

    Four generations of Karen Underwood's family lived under one roof in a five-bedroom house in Columbia, Md., halfway between Baltimore and Washington: grandmother, mother, Underwood and her husband and their daughter. Then Underwood's husband and grandma died. Her daughter moved away to college.

    "It was definitely too big a house for just my mother and me," says Underwood, 54. They thought about Florida, where they vacationed every couple of years at Walt Disney World.

    "We watched a town called Celebration, which Disney built," Underwood says. "We saw that going up year after year. One day, we were sitting in a model home and we looked at each other and said: 'You know, we could retire here.' "

    By the time Underwood retired in 2002 after 32 years with the federal government - most recently as a Defense Department manager - she had been in the house in Columbia for seven years. It had appreciated about 80%. She bought a home in Celebration. Its value grew more than 60% in two years.

    Annie Barksdale was born in Williamston, N.C., in the sparsely developed northeastern region of the state. She moved and spent 37 years in Stamford, Conn. Then she came home.

    "Once you get to a certain age, you sort of want to go back to your roots," says Barksdale, 57, who moved back with her husband Eugene, 61, a disabled Vietnam veteran. One son is in the Air Force, the other in New Jersey.

    Their town house in Stamford had doubled in value in five years. They sold it in 2003 and renovated and expanded a family property in Williamston from 700 to 1,544 square feet.

    "More so than whites, black seniors will be influenced by family ties and Southern culture in the choice of retiree destination," Frey says. "More recently, their adult children have moved to the South's booming labor market. Many of these seniors have been counting the months until they can escape the ice and snow of New York, Chicago and Detroit, to return to their family roots."

    Not Brenda Johnson, who grew up in Philadelphia and spent years in Pennington, N.J., near Princeton.

    "I had concern about coming to the South," says Johnson, 57, who feared an unwelcoming environment for blacks.

    She worked as a customer service manager for Aetna. Her husband, Warren, 64, was a fraud investigator for Fleet Bank. Their four daughters were grown. They had been in their 2,600-square-foot home for 11 years. Property taxes soared as their home doubled in value to about $500,000. They looked at smaller homes in communities for younger retirees nearby, but the prices were too steep.

    They eventually checked out Sun City Hilton Head. The prices were tempting: $189,000 for a single-family home in a gated community.

    Meeting other black residents, including Patricia Lewis, who briefs potential Sun City buyers a few days a week, also helped. Johnson now works part-time in Sun City's sales office, and her husband works part-time in the electrical department at Lowe's.

    "I never really thought of coming to the South," she says. "I just felt it was sort of like moving back in time, that the area hadn't progressed enough from a social standpoint for blacks."

    After a few visits, "we did see things had changed," Johnson says. "This is a place where I really wanted to be. ... It was very affordable here. That made the lifestyle even more appealing."







    http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20051208/ts_usatoday/blacksagrowingpartofretirementmigrationsouth




    peace!
    Isaiah
     
  2. MississippiRed

    MississippiRed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Good article Isaiah..but I don't consider the Carolinas the South..anyway..that's just me....but a lot of Black retirees are heading back South.....as Blacks in America well a lot of us anyway the South is our homeland it's where we were raised, learned about life, tasted the sweet and bitter of life...personally if it wasn't for my situation I'd be back in the South now....I love the South in general and Mississippi to be specific. ..but at some point I will live in Mississippi or LA again and it will be good and all will be right with the world then...I've already told everybody that counts if I die unexpectedly....bury me somewhere in Mississippi and if they can't afford the plot...cremate me and throw my ashes in the Mississippi River in front of my home town.........once the South has you bruh she don't let go....Take care bruh and be safe


    MississippiRed
     
  3. kemetkind

    kemetkind Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The only repatriation Blacks should be contemplating in the next 20 years is back to the Southern US where we can re-establish/re-define our knitted communities....looks like many already are and I pray this trend picks up even more steam.
     
  4. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Hi Brother Isaiah ... :love:

    I love the South. I'm way down in the bottom of 'bama, 'bout as deep as you kin get in it. I was born here, raised in the midwest, and returned as a young adult. One of the first things i noticed, when i got here, was that there were so many Black People! Oh My Gosh! It instantly turned me on! The first month i was here (this was 20+ years ago), i don't believe i saw one white person, and i went out every day, worked in my Father's store! I began to believe that there must not be no white people in Mobile, Alabama! lol ... but i was hang'n out on da avenue, down da bay, and in da bottom ... and well, wuzn't too many white folk down 'round dem dere parts. Don't get me wrong, i don't mind too terribly much, see'n white folk, but come'n from da midwest, where they lived in da 'hood rite next door to us ... this was a culture shock. One that i have been wallowing in many years now.

    Speaking of culture shocks, there were a few ... but i won't digress.

    Check this out yall. I aint been no whole buncha places, but in da midwest, when you drive'n down da skreet ... and you look over at the car next to you ... it's problee gonna be some non-Black folk in it. Kewl, no biggie, you wuz jes look'n any way. But down here, when you drive'n down da skreet ... and you look over at the car next to you ... it's problee gonna be some Black folk in it! I'm jes' say'n ... even though i don't know the Black folk personally, it's a very warm and comforting feeling, knowing so many are close by.

    I recently had the opportunity to live at home, da midwest, for about a year ... and the one thing that stood out more than any other ... was the number of inter-racial relationships. Almost every Black man that i saw, was with a white woman. It was terrible. Painful. I would see Brothers, but they were with white women! Everywhere! You could not avoid seeing it every single day. This was a culture shock for me. I would actually stop and talk to the Sisters about it! I was in the grocery store one day, and a Sister was tend'n da register, and i asked her ... "Sister, what's up with all the Brothers and these white women?" ... she said, "Girl, you aint seen nuth'n, all the kids in my child's classroom are mixed." ... she said, "It's terrible." ... i told her, "We need to form a support / therapy group for Sisters up here, man." I mean, it was that bad yall.

    Well, i'm here to tell yall ... you don't see a whole lot of that carry'n on deep in 'bama.

    I aint even mentioned the easy livin', beautiful country, and weather ... i love da south ... c'mon down yall!

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  5. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That's ironic, Destee, because THAT(inter-racial relationships)is what White boys down south said the Civil Rights Movement was all about, in the first place... Just a buncha us wantin' to jump in bed with a White Woman(smile!) ****, sounds like they were prophetic - at least in the North...

    I have always thought that Black Americans were deeply Southern wherever we are anyway... We eat the same foods, dance to the same rhythms in and outta church, and have many of the same folk ways... I think going south will make us a better people, and mellow a few of us out... Just leave the hand guns at the nearest precinct, and leave the driving to Greyhound...



    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  6. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Brother Isaiah ... if you dangle yo' carrot in front of men for hundreds of years, while eat'n they carrot, it aint hardly prophetic that when them men get a chance, they eat yo' carrot too.


    I'd not suggest anyone leave their gun at home.

    That's one thing about southern white men, perhaps all of 'em, but i know in the south, they love their guns. Might wanna bring yours, jest in case.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  7. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Destee, man that sounds like you're making excuses for brothers to chase after that white "carrot"???(smile!) I like my "carrots" looking like the one in your avatar, thank ya(smile!)

    I say we should leave the guns at home, because we've not attained the level of intelligence needed to use them against our enemies, rather than ourselves... Like in NYC, brothers kill one another on these streets e'ryday, but a White boy can walk up to 'em, and clock in the head with a baseball bat??? Interesting, don't you think...

    BTW, Destee, did you see my response to you in the "getting married down south thread?"




    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  8. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Brother Isaiah ... not making excuses, just trying to count everything.

    I don't think our lack of ability to use a thing in the best of manners (guns), means we should not be allowed to have them. If we applied this logic to all things, we couldn't use hardly nuth'n, words included. We jes' gotta learn ta do betta.

    Going to that thread now.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  9. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Just be cautious of a public annoucement (mainstream newspaper) of what directions blacks will be heading for retirement. Businesses and government will be making a strong note and have some extra preparations in place.

    The South is a region to behold for all and we can certainly make use of it beyond a place of retirement and seeking economic opportunity with many outer regional businesses coming into this region. I believe we can literally create our own opportunities if we appreciate the South more than thinking its a place for retirement (sleep, no work) and/or economic opportunity (just make a buck, dont care about the South in general) personas.
     
  10. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Dusty Elbow, did you read that WHOLE article????

    These African Americans probably left the south before you were born... They made some money in the NORTH, and they comin' back home to SPEND it! Not only that, but they've got family there, so it's not like they don't care about the SOUTH... In fact, to the contrary, they don't care to live in the NORTH - that's why they're goin' back!(smile!@)

    Additionally, since you are already there, make it know to these Black Retirees that you are in business to SERVE them, and all that wealth they've got... Don't sit around waiting for someone from wherever to bring them dollars to you... That sounds a bit like some Continental Africans, with all of their wealth and resources, they need AFrican Diasporans to come and open some businesses(DUH!)

    Come on, now, Dusty Elbow, shake a leg, man, shake a leg(smile!)


    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
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