The annual mean latitude at which tropical cyclones (TCs) reach their lifetime maximum intensity (LMI) over the western North Pacific Ocean basin has shifted northward since the early 1980s, and it is suggested that the shift is due to the northward migration of the mean TC formation location. In this study, the TC intensity is simulated with an intensity model to assess the historical records of TC intensity. During the period 1980–2015, the simulated poleward trend in the mean latitude of LMI is 0.44° (10 yr)−1, which agrees well with the one [0.48° (10 yr)−1] derived from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) dataset. This suggests that the observed poleward trend in the mean latitude of LMI is physically consistent with changes in the large-scale ocean–atmosphere environment and TC track. This study also demonstrates that the temporal change in the environmental parameters (sea surface temperature, outflow temperature, vertical wind shear, and ocean mixed layer depth) has little influence on the observed shift of the mean LMI latitude. The poleward migration of the mean LMI latitude is mainly due to the TC track shift, which results primarily from the change in the large-scale steering flow.