New IPPR analysis suggests that while there is some truth to the stereotype of retired people moving to the sea, the picture of post-retirement migration within the UK is much more complex.

New data on where retired people move to, when they move and why shows that contrary to an image of older firmly rooted in the communities they have spent their lives in, over 50,000 older people move to a different region in England each year. The report shows that rural locations such as Wiltshire and Surrey are some of the most popular destinations for people retiring from London. Seaside destinations are the most popular choices overall, with two thirds of retirees leaving the capital moving to the coast. South coast towns of Eastbourne, Hove and Worthing, along with rural areas of the South West such as Wiltshire and Cornwall are particularly popular.

However the analysis also reveals the gulf between the 'haves and have-nots' in retirement. Research from the US and UK suggests that more affluent and younger pensioners tend to move when or shortly after they retire (aged between 54-64) to improve their lifestyle; poorer pensioners tend move later in life (75+) often as a result of ill health and the need for support and care.

Encouraging people to move to appropriate housing, possibly in a new area, is often good for the individual's health and wellbeing and may help to ease housing shortages by improving the supply of family homes locally. However, as the report explores, movement does bring challenges and should not be encouraged without support. Older people who move can be significantly affected by loss of social networks.

In order to meet these challenges, the report suggests that local areas should have greater control over housing budgets to increase the supply of suitable housing in order to ensure that migration can be undertaken by choice. Local areas should also design services to build social capital to ensure that older migrants can be well integrated into their new communities.

The paper is part of a series of think pieces published by the housing association Hanover as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. More information is available here:

See some of the comments and feedback on this IPPR and Hanover report: