Here's where older Minnesotans like to go during the winter


When older Minnesotans fly south for the winter, they're usually going to one of three states (none of which are very surprising).

The statewide senior survey – conducted over the phone by the state's Department of Health and Minnesota Board on Aging – asks Minnesotans age 50 or older about their financial situation, health, living and housing status, and family and social ties.

This year's version (done in the early spring) was released Thursday, and shows the different states Minnesota snowbirds tend to head to for the winter.

For all years (not just for 2015), three states clearly sit above the others:

  1. Arizona – 36.8 percent
  2. Florida – 21.4 percent
  3. Texas – 16.5 percent.

Those are the only ones with double-digit percentages.

Funny enough, the fourth-largest percentage for older Minnesotans looking to escape a harsh Minnesota winter? Wisconsin, with 4.9 percent.

California is just behind that at 4.5 percent.

Fewer seniors leaving

But, over the past 14 years, fewer seniors have reported leaving during the winter.

For the 2015 survey, only 3 percent said they lived in another state during that time – down from 8.1 percent in 2005, which was a drop from 9.8 percent in 2001.

Why is this?

Well the report doesn't draw any hard conclusions, but does offer a few possibilities.

  • It's possible the recession left older adults in a poor position to afford heading south in the winter.
  • The recent string of less severe winters may also factor in.
  • Also, it's possible many of these older adults have millennial-aged children who moved back in after college – making it harder to do the snowbird thing.

More on the survey

The report, in total, is 95 pages long. It covers everything from how often seniors feel alone or struggle with depression, to how easy or difficult it is to shop for groceries or use the toilet, to how they feel about their financial future and the cost of their care.

The Department of Health pulled out a few of its own highlights, noting Minnesotans are working longer and retiring at a later age. Almost 27 percent of respondents age 60 or older said they were working, compared with 23 percent in the 2005 survey.

Fewer older Minnesotans are volunteering – the Minnesota Board on Aging says that could go hand-in-hand with having to work longer, which eats away at time they'd otherwise use to volunteer.

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