From conquering the frontier to the expansion of suburbia to the growth of the West, America has been a transient nation. Simply put, Americans like to move. But that may be changing.
Between 2010 and 2011, 11.6 percent of Americans changed residences, the lowest recorded rate since the Current Population Survey began collecting statistics on the movement of people in the U.S. in 1948, according to the Census Bureau.
“We used to be a much more mobile society,” writes said Alison Fields, chief of the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch. “In the mid-1980s, about 20 percent of us moved during the previous year. In 2007, prior to the latest recession, 13.2 percent of us had moved in the previous year. The following year, the rate plunged to a then-record low of 11.9 percent before rebounding a bit to 12.5 percent in 2009.”
One reason cited by the Census Bureau for the drop was the decrease in the likelihood of people moving from one location to another within the same county. In part, this is a result of the recession and the housing situation.
For those who moved to a different county or state, the reasons for moving varied considerably by the distance of their move. According to Census reports, when people move a considerable distance─500 or more miles─it is most likely for employment-related reasons. Conversely, when people move less than 50 miles, it is frequently for housing-related reasons.
As of 2010, the majority of Americans (59 percent) lived in the state in which they were born. The state with the highest such percentage was Louisiana (78 percent), followed by Michigan (76 percent), Ohio (75 percent) and Pennsylvania (74 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.
In 2010, 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)