Traverse City, Michigan
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The Most Popular Towns for Retirees Moving Away From Cities

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Traverse City, Michigan
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Pandemic Migrations

While many of us stayed home in 2020 waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to pass, some Americans took a different approach. People from all walks of life were inspired to pick up and move last year — perhaps to be closer to family, or to escape crowded cities amid a highly contagious viral outbreak; as a result, according to analysts at LendingTree, many of those left cities for smaller "micropolitan" areas. Up to 4.9% of total movers from a metropolis (namely Cleveland) went to a micropolis, LendingTree says, and retirees made up a fair share of them. Here's a look at the smaller towns that were most popular among relocating retirees from bigger cities. 


LendingTree identified the percent of total movers from big cities, then broke out how many moved to the most popular micro area. From that figure, we show how many were 65 and older, ranked from lowest percent of total moves to highest. When there were towns drawing from more than one big city, we moved them to the highest ranks. In other words, if you moved to Branson, Missouri, last year from St. Louis, don't be too surprised to see some familiar faces at the grocery store.


"A move from a metropolitan to micropolitan area needs to take into consideration more than simply cost of living and more space. For retirees, warmer weather, lower taxes, and more affordable housing are key factors when relocating," says Denny Ciezyk, a mortgage expert at LendingTree. "An affordability calculator is also a really useful tool to understand your debt to income ratio."


Related: 30 Unexpectedly Awesome Places to Retire Across America


Branson, Missouri
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Branson, Missouri

Where they're moving from: St. Louis

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 1.5%

New 65-and-older residents from St. Louis: 31.3%


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Easton, MD
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Easton, Maryland

Where they're moving from: Baltimore

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 0.9%

New 65-and-older residents from Baltimore: 12.5%

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
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Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Where they're moving from: Washington, D.C.

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 1%

New 65-and-older residents from Washington, D.C.: 6.9%


Kerrville, Texas
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Fredericksburg, Texas
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Fredericksburg, Texas

Where they're moving from: Austin, Texas

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 1.5%

New 65-and-older residents from Austin: 12.5%

Whitewater, Wisconsin
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Whitewater, Wisconsin

Where they're moving from: Chicago

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 1.5%

New 65-and-older residents from Chicago: 7.7%


Related: 50 Small Towns to Visit Across the U.S.


Traverse City, Michigan
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Traverse City, Michigan

Where they're moving from: Detroit

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 1.7%

New 65-and-older residents from Detroit: 10.8%


Hilo, Hawaii
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Hilo, Hawaii

Where they're moving from: Los Angeles and San Diego

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 2%

New 65-and-older residents from L.A.: 25%

New 65-and-older residents from San Diego: 50%


Related: The Best of Hawaii on a Budget

Pahrump, Nevada
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Pahrump, Nevada

Where they're moving from: Las Vegas

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 2.1%

New 65-and-older residents from Las Vegas: 16.4%

Palatka, Florida
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Laconia, New Hampshire
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Laconia, New Hampshire

Where they're moving from: Boston

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 2.1%

New 65-and-older residents from Boston: 7.2%


Show Low, Arizona
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Show Low, Arizona

Where they're moving from: Phoenix

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 2.3%

New 65-and-older residents from Phoenix: 21.6%


Related: 40 RV Retirement Spots for Snowbirds


Torrington, Connecticut
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Torrington, Connecticut

Where they're moving from: Hartford, Connecticut

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 2.8%

New 65-and-older residents from Hartford: 8.3%

Olean, New York
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Aberdeen, Washington
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Aberdeen, Washington

Where they're moving from: Seattle, Washington

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 3.3%

New 65-and-older residents from Seattle: 18.6%

Newport, Oregon
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Newport, Oregon

Where they're moving from: Portland, Oregon

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 3.4%

New 65-and-older residents from Portland: 20.4%


Tullahoma-Manchester, Tennessee
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Tullahoma-Manchester, Tennessee

Where they're moving from: Nashville, Tennessee

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 3.4%

New 65-and-older residents from Nashville: 13.6%


Related: 25 Places in America With the Most Seniors

Breckenridge, Colorado
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Breckenridge, Colorado

Where they're moving from: Denver

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 3.6%

New 65-and-older residents from Denver: 8%


Van Wert, Ohio
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Van Wert, Ohio

Where they're moving from: Cincinnati and Cleveland

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 1.4% and 4.9%

New 65-and-older residents from Cincinnati: 4.5%

New 65-and-older residents from Cleveland: 5.5%

Truckee, California
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Truckee-Grass Valley, California

Where they're moving from: Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose, California

Percent moving to a "micropolitan area": 2.9%, 2.7%, and 1.6%

New 65-and-older residents from Sacramento: 11.6%

New 65-and-older residents from San Francisco: 2.6%

New 65-and-older residents from San Jose: 4%


Related: The Most Underrated Town in Every State