Mobility Rates and Reasons for Moving – MBA Chart of the Week

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This week’s MBA Chart of the Week examines the reasons why fewer Americans are moving.

The U.S. mobility rate, defined as the number of movers as a percentage of the population, has steadily declined since the mid-1980s, and the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data show that less than 10 percent of the population moved residence in 2018-19. This is less than half the mobility rate (of 20 percent) in 1984-85.

Since 1999, Census has published the reasons for moving, with a focus on family-related, employment-related and housing-related reasons.

Moves for employment-related reasons have fluctuated over the last 20 years, but they have remained around seven million per annum. Moves for family-related reasons have fallen in the last five years from over 11 million in 2014 to fewer than nine million. However, the biggest declines are evident for housing-related reasons. These have fallen by approximately nine million from the start of the millennium to 12.6 million today.

From 1998-2004, over 7.8 million movers (per year) said the reason they moved was because they “wanted a new or better home/apartment,” whereas 5.3 million movers gave this reason in the last two years (on average).  Similarly, “wanting to own a home and not rent” accounted for approximately four million moves (on average) from 1998-2004 versus fewer than two million in 2018-19.

– Edward Seiler

Source: US Census Bureau

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