Go West, Old Man: Retirees Are Following the Pioneers

By Hufman, M. J. | Science & Spirit, November-December 2007 | Go to article overview

Go West, Old Man: Retirees Are Following the Pioneers


Hufman, M. J., Science & Spirit


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Baby boomers aging into retirement are heating a path west. Their migration is fueled by a search similar to that of the wagon hound pioneers of American history. However, instead of chasing the hope of wealth, the new migration is fueled by health.

A prospector chasing the 1849 gold rush and a modern-day member of the middle class head off into the setting sun for much the same reason: The West offers the possibility of a new and better life.

In 1893 historian Frederick Jackson Turner offered his Famous--and now much disputed--frontier thesis, postulating that the American character was largely forged as the population spread westward. He believed Americans transformed from stiff, formal Europeans into frontier democrats, individualists, pragmatists, and religious sectarians.

His paper came on the heels of the 1890 census, which declared the end of the physical frontier of America--it was officially populated. But there were still non-geographic frontiers to challenge and shape the American character. The country searched for its place in the world; the citizens sought their piece of the American dream; and each generation tried to put its imprint on history.

Turner said with each frontier there was "scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons," and that is arguably true of the baby boom generation, which does not want to go quietly into its good night. It is forsaking the way of its fathers, forging a new frontier--searching for a healthy, lengthy retirement. The numbers tell the story as baby boomers and retirees head west:

* Only the Southeast, anchored by Florida, surpasses the West as the country's cradle of retirement.

* Seven of the nation's ten fastest growing states are west of the Mississippi Rivei; The top two--Arizona and Nevada--make up the heart of the so-called New West.

* Eight of the ten most populous cities are in the West, as are the seven fastest-growing cities.

Phoenix recently became the fifth most populous city, vaulting over Philadelphia.

"It's hard to think of the cradle of liberty being overtaken by a rough and tumble independent Western town, but that tells you something about the nature of our country," Brookings Institution demographer William Frey said in a recent report. "We're a country that's always seeking new horizons."

The slogan of those chasing the new horizon, or frontier, is stolen from the iconic baby boomer TV show "Star Trek": "Live long and prosper." The West is becoming an ideal place for that. States like Arizona. Nevada, and New Mexico offer plenty of sun, a booming population catering to the gray hair set, and a libertarian live-and-let-live attitude.

Americans are entering their golden years with more money than their parents could have dreamed of. Retirement is no longer about sitting in God's waiting room, as Florida was once dubbed, playing backgammon and shuffleboard. The West offers people a second chance at life. The key, of course, is having the health to enjoy it.

Health has been a key reason past generations have migrated West. Southern Pacific Railroad advertised it as "the land of health and wealth" during the migration of the late 1800s. Although many looked for economic prosperity, thousands traveled to sanatoriums that were springing up in cities like Colorado Springs, El Paso, Phoenix, and San Diego hoping for relief from tuberculosis or other respiratory ailments. The range of "therapies" depended oil the locale and might include sitting outside, breathing the ocean breeze, or soaking in hot springs.

"Health-seekers came to the Southwest from all over the country in the hope that the desert air and life-giving sunshine would, if not cure, then arrest, their illnesses," Theresa Salazar of the University of Arizona wrote in an exhibit on the development of health in the Southwest. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Go West, Old Man: Retirees Are Following the Pioneers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.