Old dot-commers aging in place in Silicon Valley?

We made another Top 10 list recently, and like all the Top 10s I’ve reported on, this one has baggage.  We only came in seventh this time, not even a podium finish, but I still think it’s worth noting.

Joel Kotkin, Forbes contributor, says San Jose–actually, the San Jose Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sunnyvale and Santa Clara–saw its senior population increase an astounding 40.1 percent from 2000 to 2013.  Exactly 229,062 San Jose MSA residents are over 65, and most of them drive like they’re not in a big hurry to get somewhere.

But maybe a 40.1 percent increase isn’t all that astounding, considering that according to Kotkin, nationally “the senior population has increased 29% compared to overall population growth of 12%”.  And according to him, San Jose has been one of the biggest population losers since 2000.  “Only Katrina-ravaged New Orleans lost a larger share of its total population to domestic out-migration than San Jose”.  We did have our Katrina, something we old-timers call the dot-bust, and I guess all those busted dot-commers who had to go back to Cleveland really added up.


So has San Jose become the new Cleveland or Rochester or Hartford, dying cities where the percentage of seniors is rising only because the young’uns are leaving for better opportunities (or any opportunities) as soon as they’re old enough to get a driver’s license?  Or has San Jose become the new Florida, with snow-belt old-timers retiring here so they can throw away their snow shovels?

old timers

There’s a more likely explanation:  “many of those who have reached 65 since 2000 in the cities that top our list moved to them when they were younger, generally in search of economic opportunities or better lives, and have aged there”.  It’s always seemed to me, without a shred of scientific evidence, that the dot-com era was the Boomers last hurrah in Silicon Valley.  But when dot-com went bust, Boomers didn’t feel like leaving, and maybe most of them had made enough money that they didn’t have to leave, or maybe most of them were too old to find jobs in Portland or Boston or Denver, or maybe there weren’t any jobs for them in Portland or Boston or Denver.

Anyway, they’re still here, and at their age that’s a big deal 🙂

copyright © John Fyten 2015








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