Census Bureau: Americans Sticking to Short-Haul Moves

By    November 27, 2013

moving

Americans who are on the move aren’t going very far.

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans who relocated between 2012 and 2013 stayed in the same county.

Even those who did leave their county didn’t go that far: 40.2 percent of those movers went less than 50 miles away, according to the Census Bureau. Only 24.7 percent traveled at least 500 miles to a new home.

In 2013, short-distance moves—those within the same county—hit at an all-time low, according to real estate website Trulia.com. In analyzing the Census Bureau data, Trulia.com said just 7.5 percent of Americans made that type of move in the past year.

MarketWatch.com noted that the drop was most pronounced among Americans age 25 to 34. Only 12.7 percent of them moved locally in 2013, down from 13.5 percent in 2012.

“The credit crunch and the inability to get loans is keeping them stuck,” William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, told MarketWatch.com. “This tells me that something has to happen before they’re fully engaged in the housing market.”

In all, 35.9 million Americans, or 11.7 percent, moved between 2012 and 2013, the Census Bureau said. That’s down slightly from 36.5 million, or 12 percent, from 2011 to 2012.

From 2012 to 2013, renters were more mobile than homeowners, according to the Census Bureau. The bureau said 24.9 percent of renters moved during that one-year span, compared with 5.1 percent of homeowners.

“After rising in 2012, the percentage of people moving to a new home dropped in 2013 almost back down to the record-setting lows of 2011,” Trulia.com said. “Compared with the recession years, more Americans today are moving for a new job, but fewer are moving for a cheaper place to live.”

As the economic recovery continues, Trulia.com said, “we should at least see an increase in longer-distance moves, but with the many-decade decline in mobility, it’s unclear when or if mobility will return to pre-bubble levels.”

Trulia.com provided this breakdown of the reasons for moves between 2012 and 2013.

  In-county In-state State-to-state
Reason
Family 30% 32% 30%
Job 11% 27% 47%
Housing 58% 39% 20%

 

John is editor of The SpareFoot Blog. He first moved to Austin in 1999, when downtown Austin wasn't nearly as lively as it is today. John's loves include pizza, University of Kansas basketball and puns.

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