Changes in Lifestyle Trends

2020 Special Issue

Photo: LL_studio/

The changes in population growth, employment trends, and lifestyle choices as to “where” and “how” to live were recreating the landscape.

We asked Paige Mueller, CRE®:

Will these trends continue? How will mega cities recover? Will there be a flight to a simpler life? Will 2020 be the beginning of the next baby boom?

Trends to Watch

By Paige Mueller, CRE®
Managing Director, Eigen 10 Advisors, LLC


Markets that come out of a recession first are those that create jobs. But keep in mind that the pandemic-related cause of this recession is different than the last which was a housing and capital market crisis. Thus, expect regional performance to vary from the 2008 crisis.

Entertainment oriented markets like Florida and Nevada are already posting large unemployment gains. On the positive side, the life sciences market, led by technological changes, is likely to be counter-cyclical as are data centers. San Francisco and Boston are life-sciences hubs while the Northeast in general has a high concentration of health services.


While there are anecdotal stories of hospitals experiencing baby booms after natural disasters, numerous studies have found inconclusive results. Some theorize that the severity of the disaster is important. Others have found no relationship at all. One thing we do know is that there are two important differences now as compared to the last major Baby Boom that started in 1946.

First, as opposed to the dark times of a global pandemic, 1946 was a time of euphoria as WWII came to an end.

Secondly, the population is now much older. In 1946, 28% of the population was 45 years or older as compared to 42% now. Watch regional demographics which vary widely. While population growth in some markets is dominated by Baby Boomers (born in 1946 to 1964) and will struggle to grow over the next ten years, other markets like Austin, Dallas, Miami and Orlando will experience population growth through all age groups. Why? These areas have healthy job markets that attract people from other states, relatively low costs of living and often diverse population bases that have higher birth rates.


This is a wide-ranging topic with important implications. On COVID-19, National Geographic posted an interesting story showing differences in severity and length of the 1918 flu impact depending on metro area policy. Bottom line – faster shelter in place resulted in less impact and releasing shelter in place too soon resulted in a longer 4 to 6 month exposure. Watch cities for out-sized exposure to certain industries or employers who could be impacted by national policy changes, e.g., import-export activity, immigration policies, and such. Boom-bust mechanics in these markets will be amplified. National, state and local fiscal health will be stressed. Densely populated areas like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were already losing population before COVID-19, while low-cost markets like Phoenix were gaining more educated job bases. On the other hand, the large cities may get some relief from competition to keep businesses, as fiscally healthy states like Tennessee, Texas and Indiana, which have made full use of incentives to attract new businesses, will need to assess fiscal impacts of this cycle.