Americans used to move more. In the 1950s, one out of every five Americans moved every year. But that number has been gradually ticking downward. By 2019, for the first time since the US Census began recording mobility data in 1948, less than one out of 10 Americans moved somewhere new. And last year that number dropped even lower: In 2021, just 8.4 percent of Americans reported living in a new place.
People move for a wide variety of reasons: A new job, better pay, cheaper rent, more sunshine, more opportunities in a city, a fresh start. Typically, older people are less likely to move than younger ones. The largest percentage of movers range from their late teens to their early 30s. But one economist who studies these things notes that the decline is “really widespread,” applying to every demographic, including “younger and older workers, renters and homeowners, more-educated and less-educated workers.” The pandemic has only added to the reluctance. In short, Americans these days are more likely to stay put.
This topic has been on my mind since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and we’ve seen many state legislatures quickly enact abortion bans. Will more people leave Texas, for example, in response? Will less people move to the typically popular Texas? As a father of two daughters, states that used to seem like viable, even exciting places to live don’t seem so wise—or safe—anymore as destinations.
What about you? Where in America would you move? What places excite you or promise new opportunities? Or, in contrast, perhaps you want to share where you wouldn’t move to or feel the need to leave. Given my restless nature—I’ve lived in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, DC, California and Arizona, not to mention some foreign locales—I’m always dreaming about where I might move to next.
Photo Credit: Thomas Barwick via Getty Images.
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