Every year, thousands of senior citizens make the Rio Grande Valley their home for the winter. However, a new study revealed that their presence is steadily decreasing.
An estimated 96,000 winter Texans visited the Rio Grande Valley between 2015 and 2016, according to University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s 2015-2016 Winter Texan Report conducted by the Business & Tourism Research Center. In 2010, the number of winter Texans was at 100,000.
“The average age has increased, “ said Director of the UTRGV Business and Tourism Center Dr. Penny Simpson. “The number of first timer winter Texans has decreased.”
Simpson said winter Texans make a significant impact to the local economy.
The average winter Texan household spent about $14,900 during their visit, equaling to an average economic impact of $760 million to the Rio Grande Valley.
The report showed that winter Texans participating in the 2016 study are about 72 years old. Approximately 98.3 percent are Caucasian and have been retired for more than one year.
“It’s nice,” said winter Texan Kelly Lewis. “The shopping is good. The people are friendly.”
The number one reason they may not return is poor health as the winter Texans get older.