Stunning mountain view with a town nestled into the base of the Banff Rocky Mountains

A lot of the country's population growth is coming from the mountains out west. Here's where to look if you'd like to live among the Rocky Mountains.

Some parts of the country are experiencing a major population boom—and it’s not where you might think. According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, counties in the South and West account for the largest numeric growth in the country. Both domestic and international migration, as well as natural increase, contribute to the population growth in these areas.

The data reveals an interesting trend: The most populous metro areas aren’t ranked in the top 10 for population growth. This means that some of the country’s smaller areas in terms of population are rivaling growth in areas with much larger populations.

Active adults searching for the best places to retire can often find affordable housing, abundant recreational opportunities, and a relatively mild climate in the Mountain States, a swath of the country that stretches from Arizona to Wyoming.

Here’s a closer look at some of the fastest-growing retirement destinations in the Mountain States along with some of each area’s best active lifestyle communities.

1. St. George, Utah

Aerial view of the St. George, Utah from a nearby hiking trail. Adobe bench in the foreground, mountain ranges in the background

St. George, Utah is the fastest-growing area in the mountain states. There are plenty of reasons why.

St. George, Utah, ranks No. 3 on the Census Bureau’s list of the top 10 metropolitan areas in percentage growth from 2017 to 2018. This picturesque city flanked by dunes and red sandstone cliffs grew from 165,859 to 171,070, amounting to a 3.5 percent growth.

Retirees enjoy this city for many of the same reasons as tourists—St. George offers warm weather all year long, several golf courses, and proximity to the outdoor recreation opportunities of Zion National Park.  

Nearby Active Adult Communities

Active adult homebuyers seeking homes for sale in Utah can explore three distinctive active lifestyle communities in St. George. SunRiver St. George is a 55+ community that will contain 2,300 homes upon completion and features an 18-hole golf course and a 35,000 square-foot clubhouse.

Active adult homebuyers interested in new and resale homes can take a look at Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club, a private equity country club that will contain 1,682 single-family and attached homes upon completion. This community’s golf course was ranked as Utah’s No. 1 year-round golf course by Golf Digest magazine.

In the new community of Brio, residents enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle and take advantage of amenities including a state-of-the-art fitness center, two tennis courts, and eight pickleball courts.  

2. Greeley, Colorado

Colorado is seeing big increases in population all over the state, but Greeley, which blends the mountains with plains, is No. 1.

Situated on the high plains with views of the Rocky Mountains, Greeley, Colorado, is one of the fastest-growing destinations in the Mountain States. When it comes to percentage growth, the city ranks No. 7 on the Census Bureau’s top 10 list. Greeley grew 3 percent from 2017 to 2018, expanding from 305,274 to 314,305.

A haven for retirees who crave adventure, Greeley offers abundant ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Here, active adults can enjoy a variety of festivals and events, work on their golf game, or simply enjoy the Colorado scenery, whether they go mountain biking or rollerblading.

Nearby Active Adult Communities

Just an hour outside of Greeley, active adult homebuyers can explore multiple active lifestyle communities in Denver. Heather Gardens in Aurora contains more than 2,400 homes in a 198-acre, park-like setting. In Verona, active adult homebuyers can discover a variety of condos and attached homes that feature patios and decks for enjoying views of the Colorado landscape.

3. Boise, Idaho

Closeup of a park with autumn colors and Boise, ID skyline and mountains behind it.

Idaho is another mountain state seeing huge population growth, and no city has grown more than Boise. 

Boise, Idaho, is booming. Idaho’s capital city ranks as one of the country’s top 10 metropolitan areas in percentage growth from 2017 to 2018. The city saw its numbers grow from 710,080 to 730,426 in one year, marking a 2.9 percent growth.

Boise is a draw for retirees for its multiple hiking and camping opportunities, along with a rich assortment of amenities, including museums, music venues, and parks.

Nearby Active Adult Communities

Multiple 55+ communities await active adult homebuyers in the Boise area. At La Playa Manor in Meridian, homeowners enjoy the perks of low-maintenance living, giving them more time to take advantage of the community’s clubhouse.

Willow Brook in Garden City contains 231 single-family homes and offers residents a variety of charming amenities, including an RV parking lot that’s free for homeowners.

4. Provo-Orem, Utah

Sun setting on mountain and greenspace in Provo, Utah

Living in Provo means you're never far from beautiful scenery and outdoor adventure.

Retirees seeking the best places to retire continue to be drawn to the neighboring cities of Provo and Orem in Utah. The city experienced a 2.6 percent growth from 2017 to 2018, expanding from 617,751 to 633,768.

Active adults who want to enjoy a truly active retirement can take advantage of all the Provo-Orem area has to offer, from the canyon country and national parks of southern Utah to the ski resorts and picturesque mountains in northern Utah.

Nearby Active Adult Communities

About 40 miles north of Provo-Orem, active adult homebuyers can explore several active lifestyle communities in Salt Lake City. In scenic Lehi, Brookhaven Villas is a 55+ community that offers maintenance-free living and a variety of indoor and outdoor amenities.

Active adult homebuyers can browse a variety of new homes in a private village setting within SpringHouse Village, a resort-style 55+ community in South Jordan.