Americans Moving Less, Staying Put Amid the Recession

by Will Smith

Americans Moving Less, Staying Put Amid the Recession: Figure 1

You might expect that people move more when the economy gets rough, as they go searching for work in other markets. But a recent study reported by The Washington Post finds that Americans are moving less these days than ever before. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution and author of the study, wrote that 12 percent of Americans moved over the last two years. That figure is down from 13 to 14 percent earlier this decade and 16 to 17 percent in the 1990s. It was fully 20 percent per year during the 50s and 60s.

While the reduction is a long-term trend, the housing crisis, credit tightness, and overall recession have exacerbated it more recently. “This triple whammy of forces made it riskier for would-be homebuyers to find financing, would-be sellers to receive good value for their home and potential long-distance movers to find employment in areas where jobs were previously plentiful,” Frey was quoted in The Post.

Big cities like New York, Chicago, and LA had been losing population as residents fled to more affordable housing markets. Now, that trend has subsided. As for the DC area, its population has increased thanks to an influx of immigrants.

Frey predicts that mobility will return as the economy improves. “We’re a country of pioneers,” quotes The Post. “People moved here in the early days of the formation of the country. They were always moving, westward or suburb-ward or to the Sunbelt. The idea that we can improve our lot in life by migration, not by standing where we are and hoping it will get better, is in our genes.”

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/americans_moving_less_staying_put_amid_the_recession/1588

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