Why Do People Move?

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general General Moving

In the throws of a stressful move, the question “Why am I doing this?” may come to mind.  But despite the frustration of relocation, each year millions of Americans still pack up and move.  So why do people put themselves through this?  If you believe the United States Census Bureau, it’s because of housing.

Each year the Current Population Survey (CPS) requests respondents to indicate their primary reason for moving.  The Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the CPS offers 19 reasons for moving within four broad categories.  Of the categories (housing, employment, housing, other), data consistently reports the majority of moves .  From 2015-2016, over 42% of people who moved cited housing as their primary motivation for moving.  27.4% of people reported family reasons as their motivation, 20.2% employment, and 10.2% had another reason for moving.  Since the question’s inception in 1998, the housing category has represented the main reason for why people move, accounting for more than 40% of moves annually.  A specific reason contributes to this huge percentage.

The greatest reason people move is a desire for a new or better home or apartment.  This housing-related question represented the main reason for 17.4% of all moves between 2015-2016, and this is no anomaly.  Since 1999, this has been the primary motivation for moving every year, excluding 2007-2008 when the great recession began.  This year saw upgrading to a better home or apartment as the number two reason behind “other family reason” by less than 1%.  2007-2008 saw the lowest percentage of people moving due to a desire to upgrade, but this reason still accounted for the motivation behind 13.8% of all moves in the United States.

So, why are you moving?  It could be a number of reasons, but if you’re like 40% of Americans, housing might be the reason that pushes you to take the plunge and tackle a move.  The full list presented to ASEC participants is below.

 

Family-Related Reason Employment-Related Reason Housing-Related Reason Other Reason
Change in marital status New job or job transfer Wanted own home, not rent To attend or leave college
To establish own household To look for work or lost job Wanted new or better home/apartment Change in climate
Other family reason To be closer to work/easier commute Wanted better neighborhood/less crime Health reasons
Retired Wanted cheaper house Natural disaster
Other job related reason Foreclosure/eviction Other reasons
Other housing reason

 

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