Reason for Moving: 2012 to 2013

June 05, 2014
Report Number: P20-574
David Ihrke


Between 2012 and 2013, 35.9 million people 1 year and over living in the United States moved to a different residence. The mover rate for this period was 11.7 percent. Why did these people move? As displayed in Figure 1, housing-related reasons were the most popular response with 17.2 million (48.0 percent). Family-related reasons were the second most selected choice with 30.3 percent, followed by job-related (19.4 percent) and other (2.3 percent).

These data come from the 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey (CPS). The 2013 ASEC questionnaire had a list of 18 common reasons for moving, with an additional option to write-in reasons that did not fit into any of the predetermined choices. All of the individual reasons can be collapsed into four major reason for move categories: family-related, employment-related, housing-related, and other.

This report contains an in-depth look at the most recent reason for move data available. Using estimates from the 2013 ASEC, cross tabulations of collapsed reason for move categories are analyzed by selected characteristics. In this report, these characteristics include sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, educational attainment, marital status, labor force status, and type of move with distance moved incorporated. Next, an analysis focusing exclusively on householders is conducted. Householders are isolated in order to remove the influence of other family members who could be assigned the householder’s reason for move, thereby inflating estimates. In the third section, historical reason for move data are used to identify if any significant fluctuations are observed in the data over time. The last segment of the report contains a comparison of 2011 ASEC reason for move estimates with those from the 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS). An appendix containing information on changes to the response categories over time and how write-in responses are handled concludes this report.


• Of the 35.9 million people 1 year and over that moved between 2012 and 2013, 17.2 million (48.0 percent) gave a housing-related reason for moving.

• Males were more inclined to move for job-related reasons than females.

• Better-educated movers were more likely to move for job-related reasons than movers with lower levels of educational attainment.

• Married respondents were the least likely to move for family-related reasons.

• Intracounty moves were typically for housing-related reasons, while intercounty moves and moves from abroad were more for job-related reasons.

• “Wanted new or better home/apartment,” “other housing reason,” and “other family reason” were the most popular detailed reason for move responses in 1999 and 2013.

• Despite differences in survey methodology and reason for move responses, the AHS and ASEC had comparable rankings across the four collapsed categories.