Are Fewer People Moving?

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General Moving

When people decide to move, it is natural to feel both excitement and dread.  The opportunities the future will bring or the beautiful new home you’ll be moving to is something to look forward to.  But anyone who has moved will tell you that in the stress of moving, it is normal to question why you would ever put yourself through this process.  Some people even exclaim that they will never move again, but is this really true?  Recent data reveals that more and more Americans are staying put and that the rate of moving is at a historic low.

According to data from the United States Census Bureau, the number of people moving in 2016 was down from the previous year.  In fact, the number of people moving in 2016 was down from every previous year.  In 1948 the Census bureau began asking residents about migration on the annual Current Population Survey.  In analyzing data since 1948, the number of people moving in America has been fairly steadily declining since the mid 1980s.  In 2016, only 11.2% of people decided to pack up and relocate.  This is down from 11.6% the previous year.  And while this isn’t a particularly drastic decrease, it is interesting to note how many fewer people are moving now than since the inception of migration study.  In 1948 when the Census first began looking into moves, 20.2% of Americans reported moving within that year.  While a number of years have passed, this is still a dramatic difference from the current rate.

While the number of moves is at its lowest recorded rate, analysts do not seem to be too alarmed by the numbers.  Statisticians noted that moving is a personal decision, but also is contextually driven.  The higher rates recorded in the 1950s when migration data was first being collected shouldn’t be too surprising.  The baby boom era saw family sizes increase, necessitating more room, as well as a housing boom to accommodate the growing population.  Similarly, there are dips in the recorded number of moves when the economy was less favorable to the housing market.  The recessions in the 1980s and late 2000s recorded drops in the number of moves.  These types of contextual factors could result in a moving boom eventually.

Yes, it is true that fewer Americans moved last year than any other recorded year.  And while we have seen the number of relocations decrease over the decades, it seems unlikely that moving will ever become a thing of the past.  Yes, moving is stressful and you may find yourself not wishing to move often.  But you will probably find yourself, at least a few times throughout your life, taking the plunge and making a move for personal as well as contextual reasons.

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