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Snowbirds Evolving into Widely Diverse Group

Thirty years ago, Arizona’s snowbirds were a largely monolithic flock. They stowed months of supplies in their RVs and fled the cold Midwestern winters to soak up the sun at mobile-home parks in the state’s East Valley.

Most were middle-class retirees who launched their migration in the fall and created their own fleeting societies, venturing into nearby communities for food and fun. By May, their trailer courts were empty, the Arizona Republic reported.

Snowbirds, also known as seasonal residents, have since evolved into a richly diverse group. They arrive in the Phoenix area at different times, live throughout the Valley and vary by age, income, state or country of origin, housing preference, political impact and social habits.

Canadians, motivated by their suddenly strong dollar, are now descending in droves, many abandoning Florida’s sunny beaches for the desert landscapes and lower property taxes of the Southwest.

Baby Boomers in their 50s or even late 40s — at least those who can afford to buy second homes or condos — are a newer breed of winter visitor. As the Vietnam generation eases out the World War II generation, they buy property in favorable markets and gradually spend more time in the state as they near retirement.

Modern snowbirds have become somewhat invisible, easily assimilating into the neighborhoods around them, from age-restricted communities in the northwest Valley to affluent condo complexes in Scottsdale. Many are choosing to become permanent residents by their late senior years.

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