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Still Moving, But Why?

Wed Mar 18 2015
David Ihrke
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Between 2013 and 2014, 35.7 million people age 1 and over moved to a different residence in the United States. This represents about one-ninth of the population about the population of Texas and New Jersey combined (35.9 million). The mover rate, measured as the percentage of the population that moved over a one-year period, was 11.5 percent for 2014.The migration statistics released today tell us how many people are moving, the type of move, characteristics of movers and why they moved. According to the estimates, about two-thirds of all moves were within the same county last year, while just under one-third were to different counties and about three percent were from abroad.

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Among movers, the type of move varied by education level, as people with a college degree were more likely to move to a different county or from abroad  than people with lower educational attainment. For instance, 36.5 percent of movers 25 and older who had a bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree moved between counties, compared with 25.1 percent of movers without a high school degree. While a small portion of movers came to the United States from abroad (3.2 percent), those who had a bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree comprised 47.8 percent of movers from abroad. Only 17.4 percent of movers 25 and older from abroad were without a high school degree.

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Motivations for moving also varied by schooling. Among college-educated movers, the top two reasons for moving were for a new job or job transfer and for a new or better home/apartment at 15.7 percent each (Figure 1). These estimates were not statistically different from each other. Other important reasons included to establish their own household (10.4 percent) and wanted to own their home rather than rent (7.9 percent).

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Movers who did not graduate from high school reported different reasons. Compared with college-educated movers, a smaller percentage moved for a new job or job transfer (6.1 percent) or because they wanted to own their home rather than rent (3 percent). A larger percentage wanted cheaper housing or cited other family reasons.

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Statistics featured in this blog come from the Geographical Mobility: 2013 to 2014 Detailed Tables based on the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey. These tables contain national and regional level data along with an assortment of characteristics of movers and nonmovers. They also include the main reason for moving, regional migration flows and distance moved (only calculated for people who moved to a different county).

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