Americans Are Moving At the Lowest Rate on Record

According to new Census data, the majority of people in the US are staying put

Front view of a U-Haul moving truck in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, September 12, 2016. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
Front view of a U-Haul moving truck in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, September 12, 2016. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
By Bonnie Stiernberg / November 21, 2019 12:16 pm

According to new Census Bureau data released Wednesday (Nov. 20), Americans are moving at the lowest rate since the government began keeping track of the statistic in 1947. Just 9.8 percent of people in the US moved between March 2018 and March 2019 — the first time the figure has dipped below 10 percent.

As the New York Times points out, changes in the economy and the housing market could be to blame for why more and more Americans are staying put in their current living situations. But it’s not simply an example of millennials not being able to afford homes. “The decline in migration is really widespread,” Abigail Wozniak, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, told the Times. “It applies to all demographic groups — younger and older workers, renters and homeowners, more-educated and less-educated workers.”

“We still do not have quite enough information to know if this is worrying,” she added.

The majority of Americans who do move tend to be younger — in their late teens through their early 30s — but even they are moving less frequently. As the Times notes, 29 percent of people aged 20-24 moved between 2005 and 2006, but that number has dropped to 20 percent.

Some of those younger people are choosing to stay in their hometowns for political or social reasons, hoping to help improve their communities. “I want to try to make a difference in my area before I do leave,” Johnny Nick Hager, 25, told the publication. “If things don’t change, we are all going to have to leave.”

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