Best of the West: Baby Boomers call the West home; Colorado addresses affordable housing; the impact of bison on the Great Plains

The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting Jan. 21, 2019 that you don't want to miss.

Western states are home to some of the fastest aging populations in the country, according to the Administration on Aging, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Washington and Utah all ranked in the top ten states with the highest percentages of senior citizens. Baby Boomer retirees also are flocking to Arizona and New Mexico, according to a study based on census data.

"There’s been a lot of talk about millennials moving to Denver and a lot of these Western cities," said Andrew Friedson, professor of economics at the University of Colorado-Denver. “But a lot of people are moving to the Rocky Mountain region for retirement.”

The West is also where some states experience disproportionately higher contributions to state GDP by people over the age of 50. Nevada and Utah stand out among states with 50+ populations; even though, respectively, they comprise 34% and 25% of their total state population, they drive 49% and 37% of state GDP.

House Hunters: Affordable housing can be difficult to find, especially in ski resort towns. To address this challenge, the first U.S. Mountain Communities Summit was held in Colorado, where the pinch on “missing middle” housing is acute. Learn how planners, civic leaders and developers aim to improve sustainability.

Where the Buffalo Roam: As bison numbers rebound from near-extinction in the 1800s, researchers are studying their impact on plant and insect diversity on the Great Plains. Read more about restoration efforts in Oklahoma, Kansas, Montana and South Dakota.

To the Stars: The Dream Chaser, a spacecraft scheduled to bring supplies to the International Space Station in 2020, will be designed and built in Colorado. The project will be a successor to NASA’s space shuttle.

Play Ball! A year-round entertainment district will feature a baseball stadium, concerts and even ice skating in Kansas. City and team officials released plans for the Wichita ballpark, which is expected to open in 2020. “We want people to feel welcome. It will be the front porch to our community,” said one of the project’s proponents.

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