Retirement Transition Migration: Implications for Rural Development


  • Aileen Stockdale Queen’s University, Belfast
  • Lorna Philip University of Aberdeen
  • Marsaili MacLeod University of Aberdeen


Recent literature suggests that the increasingly blurred relationship between paid employment and retirement facilitates a retirement transition period, a life course stage which may involve a change of residence. The role of pre-retirement mobility in the repopulation of rural areas has, however, received relatively little academic scrutiny from UK geographers. This article draws upon findings from a two-year study conducted in three UK case study areas. It examines the extent of pre-retirement age (aged 50-64) migration into rural communities and the impacts this type of movement has upon economic activity, social and community engagement and service provision. It is argued that while this underresearched group offers significant potential to support the social and economic sustainability of rural communities (at least in the short and medium term), there are notable regional variations which are likely to have important long term implications for rural communities as this cohort ages in situ. Keywords: lifecourse migration, middle-age, retirement, rural economic and community impacts, U.K.