This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Graying in the suburbs: A Blueprint America special report

American infrastructure, one of the central themes of President Obama’s State of the Union address this week, isn’t the only thing that’s aging. Baby boomers are too. This year, the first baby boomers turn 65 — and many will celebrate their birthdays in neighborhoods that were not designed for senior citizens.

We’re talking about America’s suburbs. They were ridiculed as a bastion of conformity in the song “Little Boxes.” But in fact, some communities are breaking away from suburban sameness in order to make the infrastructure changes that baby boomers are about to require. Correspondent Maria Hinojosa has this Blueprint America report:


Boomtown! The great suburban demographic shift

Seniorville, the suburbs turn 65

  • thumb
    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
  • thumb
    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
  • thumb
      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.


  • Aristidis

    Thank you so much for this most informative episode on the aging community living in the suburbs.I never new that by 2035 seniors will outnumber school children,that is just amazing.The cost for these assistant living communities is very expensive for most people,how are all these problems facing us are going to be solved?

  • Dawn May Adams

    I am a Senior and was lucky to find an apartment complex outside of Bakersfield that I can afford, and that is over half of my income. They keep cutting out necessities for the elderly, poor and disabled. I guess it could be worse, and just might get to that point. If they take away Social Security, Medicare and Medi-cal–I will be in deep trouble. I simply have to put my faith in God, and pray for a better future for all of us.

  • Daniel Day

    I feel like this is Revenge. I don’t own a car. When applying to jobs, they demand I have a car. When I see this, I feel revenge. I feel like I’m getting my revenge for dumping me into a world with no sidewalks, bicycle lanes and lousy public transit.

  • Laura_la

    Are there anymore Blueprint America’s? We live in a suburb that’s become a suburb over time as jobs have left. There’s still a city center, but it’s unused — no mass transit to speak off and no reason to go on main street. And, when I drive past the retirement communities, the isolation seems even more amplified because it is a suburb. Where do we go from here?

  • Bayou2buckeye

    This is a great article, and something we all need to think about. I haven’t driven in years, but I was living in New Orleans, and they had great public transport. It didn’t do much good when the hurricane came in, but by then I had moved to the rural midwest….very little in transportation here, and stores are not within walking distance, as they are in bigger cities. It is a challange.

  • Wdoug62

    In my city, Incredible amounts are being spent by local government to “revitalize” the downtown areas, where the politically connected developers are building expensive condos, etc. which are mostly inaccessible to the average retiree.  Yes, we are stuck in the suburbs, with inadequate public transportation.  I am fortunate in one respect is that I have a hired aide that does my driving for me, and can access the grocery store and other shopping and other needs.  But few in my subdivision do not have this type of assistance, and cannot afford space in an assisted living facility.  They likewise cannot afford the high rentals of downtown apartments, where there are few and far between amenities such as grocery stores.  The elderly usually cannot travel great distances on foot, or carry adequate loads of groceries or other needs.  They also usually cannot navigate or even ride bicycles for those required trips as well.  Therefore many are still driving cars when they are too old to still be doing so.  We do not really have a solution for these people who take great risks every day trying to remain independent.