The search for engines to power rural economic growth has gone beyond the traditional boundaries of the food and fiber sector to industries such as tourism and to schemes such as attracting metropolitan workers to commuter communities with rural amenities. A group that has been somewhat overlooked is retirees, who may wish to trade in urban or suburban life-styles for a more peaceful rural retirement. An industry that has been neglected is the health care industry, which is the most rapidly growing industry nationally and of particular interest to retirees and aging populations. This paper examines the importance of rural health care services in attracting migrants age 65+ to rural counties in Michigan. Results indicate that the number of health care workers has a positive effect on net in-migration, and that this effect is large and statistically significant for the 70+ age group. Implications for rural development strategies are discussed.


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