Mover Rate Reaches Record Low, Census Bureau Reports

The percentage of people who changed residences from 2010 to 2011 (11.6 %) was lowest recorded rate since the Current Population Survey began collecting stats on the moves in the U.S. in 1948

Palm Coast, FL – November 15, 2011The percentage of people who changed residences between 2010 and 2011 ©¤ 11.6 percent ©¤ was the lowest recorded rate since the Current Population Survey began collecting statistics on the movement of people in the United States in 1948, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. The rate, which was 20.2 percent in 1985, declined to a then-record low of 11.9 percent in 2008 before rising to 12.5 percent in 2009. The 2010 rate was not statistically different than the 2009 rate.

This information comes from Geographical Mobility: 2011, a collection of national- and regional-level tables from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. The tables shed light on movement of people within the United States from one location to another during the year prior to the survey. These tables were part of four migration-related data products released today, which also included:
“Taken together, these products paint a vivid picture of a nation on the move and tell a more complete story than any one of them can separately,” said Alison Fields, chief of the Census Bureau’s Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch. “The record low mover rate was driven by a drop in the likelihood of people moving from one location to another within the same county. The last time this rate was so low, the overall mover rate also reached a record low.” 
Reasons for Moving
For those who moved to a different county or state, the reasons for moving varied considerably by the length of their move. According to Geographical Mobility: 2008 to 2009, when people moved a considerable distance between 2008 and 2009 ©¤ 500 or more miles ©¤ it was most likely for employment-related reasons, which were cited by 43.9 percent of such movers, as opposed to housing-related reasons, given by 11.6 percent. Conversely, when people didn’t move far ©¤ less than 50 miles ©¤ 40.0 percent did so for housing-related reasons.
Living in State of Birth
As of 2010, the majority of Americans (59 percent) lived in the state in which they were born, so says Lifetime Mobility in the United States: 2010. The state with the highest such percentage was Louisiana (78.8 percent), followed by Michigan (76.6 percent), Ohio (75.1 percent) and Pennsylvania (74.0 percent). Conversely, in four states ©¤ Alaska, Arizona, Florida and Nevada ©¤ and in the District of Columbia, fewer than 40 percent of residents were born in that state or state-equivalent. Nevada, with less than a quarter, had the lowest percentage in the nation.
The Most Common State-to-State Moves
According to the 2010 American Community Survey, 45.3 million people lived in a different house within the United States one year earlier. Of these movers, 6.7 million lived in a different state. The most common state-to-state moves in 2010 were:
  • California to Texas (68,959 movers)
  • New York to Florida (55,011)
  • Florida to Georgia (49,901)
  • California to Arizona (47,164)
  • New Jersey to Pennsylvania (42,456)
  • New York to New Jersey (41,374)
  • California to Washington (39,468)
  • Texas to California (36,582)
  • Georgia to Florida (35,615)
  • California to Nevada (35,472)
It should be noted that flows in the top 10 may not be significantly different from each other or flows outside the top 10.
Four years earlier, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the most common move was Louisiana to Texas (118,552 moves). Among the next largest moves were New York to Florida (87,576) and California to Arizona (85,497). All in all, 7.9 million people moved between states during the 2005 to 2006 period.
In early 2012, the Census Bureau will release the American Community Survey 2005-2009 County-to-County Migration Flow File, the first data set addressing this topic since the 2000 Census. It will show the number of moves between pairs of counties, with tabulations provided by age, sex, and race and Hispanic origin.
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