Population and Social Characteristics

Baby Boomers' 7 Least Favorite Cities: Ranked

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Where baby boomers choose to live and visit comes down to a number of factors, including affordability of housing and cost of living, rates of poverty and crime, hospitable climates, and the chance to connect with others who are in a similar stage in life. It is inevitable that some cities will suit the needs and wants of boomers better than others. Turns out, Denver and Nashville are cities popular with boomers. But what’s at the other end of the spectrum? That is, where do boomers dislike and presumably prefer to avoid? Let’s take a look at the cities least popular with boomers.

Global online research company YouGov.com has collected data on the cities least popular with boomers and others. The following seven all scored less than a favorability rating of 35% with boomers. Population data comes from the American Community Survey, annual crime data from NeighborhoodScout, and average temperatures from NOAA.

Why Does It Matter?

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Who cares where baby boomers live?

There are estimated to be more than 75 million baby boomers in the United States, which is over 20% of the population. Because they are now about 60 to 80 years old, well over half of them are retired. They tend to be more affluent than the following generations, so where boomers choose to live and visit can have a significant impact on local economies. Is that bad news for the cities least popular with boomers?

7. Columbus, Ohio

cities least popular with boomers
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Columbus is unpopular with boomers.
  • Boomer positive rating: 34%
  • 2020 population: 905,748
  • Median age of residents: 33.3 years
  • Poverty rate: 18.1%
  • Crimes per 1,000 residents: 40.13
  • Average annual temperature range: 29° to 75° Fahrenheit
  • Top attractions: Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Scioto Mile parks

The Biggest Small Town in America

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What’s not to like: bigger than Detroit or Kansas City, with muggy summers.

The Ohio state capital was once called “The Biggest Small Town in America” but is now the second-most populous city in the Midwest after Chicago. Its diverse economy helped it resist the Great Recession and quickly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s demographics make it a common test market for new products. Almost 20%  of the population is older than 55, and about 42% white and 36% Black. The city experiences muggy summers and cold, dry winters.

6. Tulsa, Oklahoma

cities least popular with boomers
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Tulsa is unpopular with boomers.
  • Boomer positive rating: 33%
  • 2020 population: 413,066
  • Median age of residents: 35.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 18.2%
  • Crimes per 1,000 residents: 51.88
  • Average annual temperature range: 38° to 84° Fahrenheit
  • Top attractions: the Deco District, “Center of the Universe,” Route 66

The Center of the Universe

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What’s not to like: a high crime rate and tornadoes.

The Tulsa County seat is the second-largest community in Oklahoma. Much of its 202 square miles are on Native American lands. The “Oil Capital of the World” fared better than other U.S. cities during the Great Depression. It was once home to “Black Wall Street,” and the founder of Route 66 came from there. The portion of the current population over 55 is more than 26%. While about 17% of residents are Hispanic, 53% of them are white. In spring and early summer months, the city is subject to severe thunderstorms containing large hail, damaging winds, and occasional tornadoes.

5. Long Beach, New York

cities least popular with boomers
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Long Beach is unpopular with boomers.
  • Boomer positive rating: 31%
  • 2020 population: 35,029
  • Median age of residents: 44.3 years
  • Poverty rate: 5.3%
  • Crimes per 1,000 residents: 2.34
  • Average annual temperature range: 39° to 83° Fahrenheit
  • Top attractions: Long Beach Boardwalk, beaches

The City by the Sea

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What’s not to like: overcrowded and hot, humid summers.

This oceanfront city can be found in Nassau County on Long Island’s south shore. It is a high-density community packed into less than 4 square miles of barrier island, about an hour’s drive from New York City. Incorporated in 1922, it has had many famous residents, including Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Cab Calloway, Jack Dempsey, Billy Crystal, and Derek Jeter. The famous boardwalk was rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy destroyed it in 2012. About 28% of the residents are older than 55, and 72% of the population is white. The city has humid hot summers and cool winters, as well as one of the lowest crime rates in the United States.

4. Detroit, Michigan

cities least popular with boomers
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Detroit is unpopular with boomers.
  • Boomer positive rating: 30%
  • 2020 population: 639,111
  • Median age of residents: 35.3 years
  • Poverty rate: 31.5%
  • Crimes per 1,000 residents: 66.09
  • Average annual temperature range: 25° to 74° Fahrenheit
  • Top attractions: Belle Isle, Henry Ford Museum, Motown Museum

The Motor City

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What’s not to like: high poverty and crime rates.

This is the seat of Wayne County, and among its nicknames are “The Motor City” and “Motown.” It was once an important industrial hub, but the loss of the auto industry led to a period of urban decay and population loss. Detroit also gained notoriety for its high amount of crime. In 2013 it became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy. But in the 2010s, initiatives to renovate and revitalize the cityscape led to a rise in gentrification, an increase in the population of young professionals, and expanding retail. The population is now around 77% Black, and 15% or so of residents are older than 65. Due to its location in the Great Lakes region, winters are cold with moderate snowfall, but thunderstorms are frequent during spring and summer.

3. Fresno, California

cities least popular with boomers
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Fresno is unpopular with boomers.
  • Boomer positive rating: 25%
  • 2020 population: 542,107
  • Median age of residents: 32.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 22.1%
  • Crimes per 1,000 residents: 44.29
  • Average annual temperature range: 40° to 70° Fahrenheit
  • Top attractions: Forestiere Underground Gardens, Shinzen Japanese Garden, Yosemite National Park

The Raisin Capital of the World

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What’s not to like: long, hot summers with droughts.

The Fresno County seat covers about 115 square miles near the geographical center of California. It is an ethnically diverse city with almost 19% of residents foreign-born. About half the population is Hispanic, and around one in five is age 55 years or older. A major hub for agricultural production, Fresno is home to numerous farms and orchards, and it is a leading producer of raisins. Winters are cool and wet, while summers are long, hot, and dry. Since 2010, Fresno has been particularly impacted by droughts that plague California.

2. Oakland, California

cities least popular with boomers
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Oakland is unpopular with boomers.
  • Boomer positive rating: 24%
  • 2020 population: 440,646
  • Median age of residents: 38.7 years
  • Poverty rate: 13.2%
  • Crimes per 1,000 residents: 80.78
  • Average annual temperature range: 60° to 75° Fahrenheit
  • Top attractions: Lake Merritt, Jack London Square, Redwood Regional Park

The Bright Side of the Bay

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What’s not to like: a high crime rate and few senior citizens.

This large coastal city is a major West Coast port and the Alameda County seat. Like Fresno, it is an ethnically diverse city with an above-average total of foreign-born residents. Like Detroit, it has had a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in America. But it also has seen a surge in gentrification and increased tourism, being called a various times one of the “coolest,” “most exciting,” and “most hipster” cities in the country. It has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate with an average of 260 sunny days per year. Only 13% or so of residents are age 65 or more.

1. New Philadelphia, Ohio

cities least popular with boomers
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New Philadelphia is unpopular with boomers.
  • Boomer positive rating: 15%
  • 2020 population: 17,677
  • Median age of residents: 42.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 15.1%
  • Crimes per 1,000 residents: 1.31
  • Average annual temperature range: 30° to 73° Fahrenheit
  • Top attractions: Tuscora Park, Schoenbrunn Village

The Other Philadelphia

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What’s not to like: too small and stuck in the past?

About 71 miles south of Cleveland, New Philadelphia covers around 8.4 square miles and was incorporated in 1833. The Tuscarawas County seat was initially laid out to resemble the design of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The population is about 94% white. A branch campus of Kent State University can be found there, and Tuscora Park has features originally built by the WPA, along with a carousel and Ferris wheel. The city’s crime rate ranks among the lowest in the nation, and more than a third of residents are age 55 or older. They enjoy a moderate climate throughout the year.

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