New Mexico Top State for Retirees, New Report Says

April 23, 2019

New Mexico has surpassed Florida as the top state for relocating retirees, according to a new study. Last year, 43% of moves to New Mexico were retirement-related and 71% of incoming residents were over the age of 55.

The 2018 National Movers Study showed Florida was second with 39% of incoming moves related to retirement, and our next-door neighbor Arizona was third with 37%. The two states that had the highest percentage of retirees moving away were Connecticut and New Jersey.

Albuquerque Business First reported how attracting retirees to New Mexico could benefit our state’s economy:

Bob Grassberger, economist and professor at the University of New Mexico, spoke at a NAIOP luncheon last year about how the state should tout its appealing conditions, including New Mexico’s climate, to retirees.

“Why on God’s green earth should we bring retirees to New Mexico?” Grassberger said at the luncheon. “Because that’s where the money is. Baby boomers control 70 percent of the disposable income. If we add Gen Xers in with the baby boomers, we’re talking $53 trillion that they control.”

Grassberger said many retirees have stable “mailbox income,” with regular pension or social security checks coming in. He cited a retiree-attraction program Alabama started around 30 years ago that brought in billions to the state. Grassberger’s research found one retiree household would generate half a job.

According to a further analysis of the study, “When considering where to retire, people are often in search of states with a temperate climate, plenty of outdoor activities and an affordable cost-of-living.”

New Mexico has all of this in spades.

With New Mexico’s extensive sunshine mixed with the opportunity to experience all four seasons, it’s easy to argue that we have the best weather in the country.

Our state is also blessed with a multitude of outdoor activities, which often coexist alongside oil and gas development. Both of these industries, in turn, are major economic drivers for our state. Our balanced approach to energy development protects our state’s pristine landscapes and supports economic growth.

When it comes to cost of living, New Mexico is approximately 3% lower than the national average and more affordable than neighboring states like Colorado and Arizona, according to the report. Energy production in our state is helping to keep our cost-of-living down, allowing New Mexico consumers to save over $3.4 billion between 2006 and 2016 due to the increased availability of resources.

Economic momentum has been building in New Mexico and continuing to attract retirees could be another opportunity to create jobs and further diversify our economy.