Boomers are done with Florida and moving to Appalachia

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. Image via Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

By Crystal Harlan

March 26, 2024

Fed up Boomers are now moving to once-heavily rural counties in areas that include Southwest Virginia, North Georgia, parts of both North Carolina and South Carolina, and portions of Alabama and Tennessee.

They call them “halfbacks.” They move down to Florida from the northeast or the Midwest, and when they tire of the Sunshine State, they move halfway back.

While the term is nothing new, it’s recently resurfaced as Baby Boomers are leaving Florida (or skipping Florida altogether) and choosing to retire in southern Appalachia.

Florida used to be the “it” place for retirees, with its warm weather, beautiful beaches, lack of state income tax, and once-affordable homes. But Florida is not so affordable anymore as home and property insurance prices have skyrocketed. Some Boomers are also tired of the continual threat of extreme weather and the increase in traffic and crowds, thanks to the hoards of people who have moved to Florida in recent years. Just in 2022, 1 million people moved to Florida.

Some fed up Boomers are now moving to once-heavily rural counties in areas that include Southwest Virginia, North Georgia, parts of both North Carolina and South Carolina, and portions of Alabama and Tennessee, according to a recent report in the The Wall Street Journal.

“Our property insurance was going sky high,” said Ed Helms, a retiree who left Panama City Beach, Florida, for northern Georgia. “We got tired of being unable to find a place to sit in restaurants.”

 

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Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

CATEGORIES: HOUSING
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