Patterson and his co-authors focused on data from the long-form censuses done in 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006. The 2011 census was not used since it isn’t clearly comparable due its replacement by the voluntary National Household Survey.
Regardless, an important trend can be seen emerging from those years: Seniors are more likely to move to the suburbs than to the urban core. In fact, in all cities, the rate at which this age group is moving to the suburbs appears to be increasing faster than for any other.
“People are interested in seeing more seniors move back to the city because that’s where the infrastructure is already in place for a better quality of life for individuals with limited mobility options,” says Patterson, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in Transportation and Land-Use Linkages for Regional Sustainability. “But when you look at actual data rather than anecdotal evidence, it’s clear that they prefer the suburbs.
“This issue is important for planning future transportation systems, as well as for its implications on the future welfare of the large baby-boom generation now starting to enter retirement.”
Partners in research: This research was enabled by funding from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Research Chairs program, and Montreal’s Agence métropolitaine de transport.