A Nation Still on the Move But Less Transient Than Before

Written by: Alison Fields

Although many of us still move over the course of a year, we are now less likely to do so. The percentage of people who changed residences in the last year ─ between 2010 and 2011 ─ reached the lowest level since the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey began collecting such information in 1948.

We used to be a much more mobile society. In the mid-1980s, about 20 percent of us moved during the previous year. In 2007, prior to the latest recession, 13.2 percent of us had moved in the previous year. The following year, the rate plunged to a then-record low of 11.9 percent before rebounding a bit to 12.5 percent in 2009. The 2010 rate was not statistically different from the 2009 rate.

The Census Bureau today released four statistical products relating to migration that collectively paint a vivid portrait of our nation’s movers, describing their characteristics and the nature of these moves. One aspect of the findings shows the number of people who moved from one particular state to another using data from the American Community Survey. The most common such move between 2009 and 2010 was from California to Texas: about 70,000 people made such a relocation.

In fact, a move from California to another state comprised four of the 10 most common state-to-state moves (also known as “flows”). In addition to Texas, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Nevada were the most common destinations of those leaving California. The second most common move overall was New York to Florida, and the third most was Florida to Georgia. It should be noted that flows in the top 10 may not be significantly different from flows outside the top 10.

The majority of Americans ─ 59 percent ─ live in the state in which they were born. There are large variations in this rate, however, between different parts of the country. For instance, the Midwest had the highest rate among regions: 70 percent. This indicates relatively lower lifetime mobility. The West, on the other hand, had the lowest such percentage: 50 percent. This means people there are more mobile over the course of their life.

For more information on Census Bureau migration products

Read the press release…

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One Response to A Nation Still on the Move But Less Transient Than Before

  1. Eva says:

    Looking at slide 17 of this morning’s webinar on this topic, I’m wondering: is it really noteworthy that CA, FL, TX, NY, and IL are the states with the highest total domestic outmigration (residents who moved to other states)? This is where many Americans live to begin with, right? It would be more interesting to adjust for the state populations. Example: the 2010 ACS numbers show that only 1.6% of California’s almost-37-million residents moved to another state. TX: 1.7%; NY: 1.9%. These are all BELOW the nat’l average of 2.2%.

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