By Cecilia Chan
GSN Managing Editor

Gilbert’s 85298 ZIP code took the No. 3 spot in the state among ZIPs with the biggest increase in baby boomers over five years, according to RENTCafé.com.

Nationally, the town ranked No. 13 for popularity with boomers in the latest study that looked at the ZIP codes of the 250 largest cities in the country.

“The close proximity to downtown Gilbert and nearby Chandler is possibly an important factor in their decision to move to the area as they are just minutes away from shopping centers and popular restaurants,” said Florentina Sarac with the online listing service.

“Since we might keep seeing a high number of seniors relocating here, developers should take into consideration the particular needs of this generation when planning to build new housing,” Sarac added.

The company defined the generation as those born between 1948 and 1962 but the U.S. Census considers baby boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964.

RENTCafe looked at three main areas – total baby-boomer population, increase in number of baby boomers between 2012-17 and increase in share of baby boomers.

During the five-year period Gilbert’s 85298 has seen a 40 percent spike, translating to over 3,900 new residents, according to the study.

The area is largely residential and has seen a lot of residential growth the last few years, according to town spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison.

Subdivisions like Adora Trails, The Bridges, Calliandra Estates, Marathon Ranch, Reserve at Val Vista, Marbella Vineyards and Freeman Farms added a number of homes in that area over the last few years, Harrison said.

In addition, there is an assisted-living development at the southeast corner of Val Vista and Queen Creek that recently opened, she added.

Sarac said the Southwest started to gain popularity among seniors, with four zip codes in Arizona posting some of the highest increases in the number of baby boomers — Mesa’s 85212 ZIP was No. 3 in the state followed by Phoenix’s 85212 and 85012 at No. 11 and No. 14, respectively.

Study highlights include:

ZIPs with the largest baby boomer population. Glendale’s 85308 ranks 16 out of 20 nationally, with over 14,000 senior inhabitants. Considering New York absolutely dominates this ranking, Arizona entering the top 20 is a surprising feat, according to RENTCafe.

ZIPs with the largest share of baby bomers. Scottsdale’s ZIP code 85266 boasts the highest share of baby boomers nationally, at 35 percent. But it is Tucson that truly shines in this category, with no fewer than four ZIP codes with a high share of seniors in the top 20.

To look at the full study, go to rentcafe.com/blog/apartmentliving/lifestyle-apartmentliving/baby-boomer-zip-codes.