Moving up, moving on, moving out – What’s the story?

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Written by: David Ihrke, Survey Statistician, US Census Bureau

Every year, millions of people pack up and move from one residence to another. This trend has long been an important aspect of American life, affecting both people and geographic areas. In 2010, more than one in 10 U.S. residents (1 year and older) moved within the previous year.

Among the interesting details that came out of the 2010 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement — seven in 10 of those people moved within the same county, nearly two in 10 moved from a different county within the same state, and about one in 10 moved to a different state.

This information is from Geographical Mobility: 2010, the latest in a series of tables that describe the movement of people in the United States. The tables show the mover rate is different for people who are married versus people who are single. Another factor we can examine is how the mover rate varies by whether the housing unit is owned or rented.

Reasons why people move current population survey

Moving can create economic opportunity or residential satisfaction. In fact, housing reasons topped the list of reasons why people moved at nearly 44 percent. Among people who said that housing-related reasons motivated them to move, the most common reason cited was the desire to live in a new or better home or apartment. For those who said they moved for employment-related reasons, a new job or job transfer was the most common reason.

On a broader level, geographic mobility data are used by federal, state and local governments to understand population growth and decline in order to plan for needed services and facilities, such as schools and hospitals. These same figures are also important to private industry, which can use these figures to determine where to expand and locate businesses and services.

Year-to-year, these population shifts tell us important things about how our nation is changing in important ways. This year, as we roll out population figures from the 2010 Census*, we see the impact of mobility on housing markets, economic growth, demand for services and even congressional representation.

One thing certainly remains constant; millions of Americans will be on the move over the course of the next year.

*Geographic mobility/migration was not asked in the 2010 Census.

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4 Responses to Moving up, moving on, moving out – What’s the story?

  1. Egnio Reyes says:

    Well, though the statics shown above is enough for me to understand it… one of the main reason, in my opinion is: population movement, as perceive above, is caused do to age and climate: young people from the south of US, might have the need to move to the north of US on the reason of: making much more money at a job (the north of US pay better than the south)… when they aged, then move back to the south, for it is peaceful and lack most of the noise created in big cities, pension then is their main support (even most Presidents of US do that). Notice that: the north is much more dynamic than the south, and that dynamism is related to age. This trend will never stop, for it is an act of adaptation. It does not mean that youngest and old live in the south (olds) and in the north (young). But if we survey on age, the surprise to notice the above will be right on the spot. If for whatever reason, Congress changes the rules on Social Security with, let’s say with the so called “Flat Tax” that will create great damage to the economy in the south, then, reverting as a boomerang, into greater burden to the federal system and any state government. Welfare would explode and then would be next to care an extraordinary burden affecting all the social spheres of the nation… seeing how and action ejects a reaction. Only the very rich one would be able to sustain a peaceful life in the south. The destruction of the social fabric that compose Democracy… US is in trouble, wait and see. So, social trend in population movement would be greatly affected… aged people would rather stay working until death comes along. The nuclear family, as known today, would have a great change and the US would enter into a depression all after that… in about 36 years after now, the possibility of a www III would be around the corner. And change will then come again to all of US who could survive. Relation in all that with just that simple ball in red, blue, purple and green above? It is just a response to social adjustment to the new economy been created by US in the form US is managing our economic production outside the country… affecting “population movement” starting with the aged American people.

  2. Dr Neal Cutler says:

    A critical aspect of residential mobility not (yet) mentioned in this blogpost is that there is a strong age component to such mobility. Historically, younger people move, older people don’t– except around retirement time. The age differences/patterns of residential mobility are a key aspect of the planning implications of mobility — schools, tax bases, social services, retail, health. The new data, especially when compared with prior patterns, will be of great value, but the value is increased with the data are seen through multiple lenses of aging, — individual aging, population aging, family aging, etc.

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  4. Carla Seyler says:

    Could you please tell me how often the average American family moves? I am specifically interested in southern Louisiana, but would be quite content with a national average. Thank you for your assistance.

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