Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Business

In Tampa Bay, now we're growing and graying at the same time

We're growing again but getting grayer, too.

The Tampa Bay metro area will enjoy a solid if not booming return of population growth after several recession years when Florida lost or, at best, gained few residents.

What's more, Tampa Bay will be one of the faster aging metro areas in the United States.

Those are two key findings from some of the nation's top demographic experts who analyze population trends. That combination of more people moving here and more of them being over 60 raises some big challenges and opportunities for the Tampa Bay economy in the coming years.

For example, the phrase "over 60" once smacked of nursing homes and hospital beds. Yet most people moving here in the coming decade will be retiring baby boomers eager to spend money, enjoy entertainment and lead active lives that, demographers note, increasingly will include starting businesses.

On the flip side, the "graying" of Tampa Bay may make it tougher to ever call this metro area a hot or even lukewarm spot for young adults who tend to migrate where other young people cluster. These days, cities popular with those 20 to 35 range from Washington, D.C., and Houston and Austin in Texas to Denver, Portland and Seattle.

Still, Brookings Institution demographic guru Bill Frey says Florida is finally benefiting from rising immigration and some "thawing in the near frozen movement" to previously hot destinations in the Sun Belt. A recovering housing market and slowly improving job opportunities are helping that thaw.

Frey suggests in a recent analysis that the country may be starting "a national demographic revival, though one which may never approach the rapid growth heydays of the baby boom dominated 1950s and 1960s."

Another high-profile population watcher, Joel Kotkin, carves out a different trend, pointing to Tampa Bay as the country's second fastest graying metro market — behind Pittsburgh. At least 23.5 percent of the people here are over 60, Kotkin notes in a recent Forbes column, while only 17.4 percent are under the age of 15.

That the United States is aging is not news. Nationwide, 18.5 percent of the population is over 60, an age bracket that courtesy of baby boomers will rise to 25 percent by 2050. Weaker immigration and a slowdown in birth rates will hasten the country's aging.

The aging mix in Tampa Bay already puts this area close to what the country as a whole will look like by 2030.

Reading demographics can be tricky. While Tampa Bay may rank No. 2 as a graying metro area, that's happening here for different reasons than in many other aging cities. Other than Tampa Bay and Miami, all of the fastest aging metro areas are northern industrial relics like Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit. Those Rust Belt cities are getting older because so many young people have departed for more promising places, and because immigrants bypass them for warmer climates and perceived opportunities elsewhere.

But Tampa Bay and Miami are mostly growing older because of boomers heading this way.

Tampa Bay economic leaders have worked hard to try to keep young adults in this area. At best, that task has proven a mixed success, given the area's limited career options and a local unemployment rate that remains even higher for young people. Still, efforts to create job and social networks like Emerge Tampa, and for area community colleges to provide specific job training opportunities are helping.

As anyone who walks the 40,000-student University of South Florida campus in Tampa, or who was out in downtown St. Petersburg's First Night celebration for New Year's Eve well knows, there are plenty of young adults in this area.

They help keep all us gray hairs a little younger.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]

Comments
Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Chuck Prather, owner of the Birchwood in St. Petersburg, returned from his daughter’s Maine wedding this week with an exciting announcement of his own. On June 7 the St. Petersburg City Council is expected to sign off on him being on...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg’s Jabil expands in Israel with new innovation center

St. Petersburg-based contract electronics company Jabil announced Wednesday it has expanded in Israel by opening an Optics Technology Innovation Center.The 6,560-square-foot complex is in Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city. "Our Optics Innovation Cen...
Updated: 4 hours ago
New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

OPEN NOW: BAHAMA BUCK’SFeel a shiver? Just in time for Florida’s sultry summer, Bahama Buck’s opened this week in Trinity with an avalanche of sno. The 2,346-square-foot island-inspired shop opened at 8815 Mitchell Blvd. with more than 91 flavors of ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lee Roy Selmon's original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon's original Tampa restaurant is closing, marking the end of an era

Lee Roy Selmon’s, the restaurant that paid homage to the community icon who rose to fame as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and grew to become a popular civic leader, will shutter the doors of its original location on Tampa’s Boy Scout Boulevard in...
Updated: 5 hours ago
At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.As the name suggests, it...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Associated PressPHILADELPHIA — Comcast may make an offer for Twenty-First Century Fox, potentially putting it in a head-to-head bidding war with Disney. Comcast Corp. on Wednesday did not provide specific details on a bid, other than to say that it w...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

Brunch-based alcohol will be available at First Watch’s new Orlando location

ORLANDO — The popular breakfast and brunch chain First Watch will be opening a new restaurant in Orlando that will add cocktails, beer and wine to the menu. The new concept restaurant, set to open on Memorial Day at 1448 N Alafaya Trail, will be 1,00...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Humana hiring 100 for phone sales, Medicare enrollment assistance

Humana hiring 100 for phone sales, Medicare enrollment assistance

Kentucky-based health care provider Humana is hiring 100 phone sales employees in Tampa Bay. The new hires will field sales calls and offer enrollment assistance for Humana’s Medicare plans and other products.The positions, which are being added to h...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Downtown St. Pete Ford’s Garage and Yeoman’s to open Wednesday

Downtown St. Pete Ford’s Garage and Yeoman’s to open Wednesday

ST. PETERSBURG — Ford’s Garage, a car junkie’s haven, has proven to be popular eatery across the state.Now it has a chance to drive customers to its seats in St. Petersburg. The restaurant opens its ninth location downtown Wednesday at 200 First Ave....
Updated: 11 hours ago
Target: New Tampa, Clearwater stores part of company-wide makeovers

Target: New Tampa, Clearwater stores part of company-wide makeovers

Target is renovating more than 1,000 stores by the end of 2020, including two SuperTarget locations in New Tampa and Clearwater.The Clearwater store’s makeover — which the corporation calls ‘‘reimagining" — just wrapped up, according to Target spoke...
Updated: 11 hours ago