|What Moves Americans to Move?|
Why did over 22 million Americans move to a new residence between March 1999 and March 2000? According to two recent Census Bureau reports, they were driven by a desire to own a home, pay less for housing or live in a better neighborhood.
"The desire to live in a new or better house or apartment was the most common reason cited for a short-distance move -- one in which the mover remained in the same county," said Jason Schachter, author of both reports, Geographical Mobility: March 1999 to March 2000 and Why People Move: Exploring the March 2000 Current Population Survey.
Another 16 percent of the 43 million Americans who moved over the one-year period did so because of work-related reasons such as job searching and a desire for a shorter commute.
"A new job or a job transfer was the most common reason cited for a long-distance move, that is, moving from one county to another," said Schachter.
Fifty-six percent of all moves made between 1999 and 2000 were within the same county, compared with 64 percent from 1997 to 1998. Nineteen percent of all moves made between 1999 and 2000 were from one state to another, up from 15 percent of those made between 1997 and 1998. An additional 20 percent who moved during the recent one-year period moved between counties in the same state, unchanged from the earlier period.
The reports also found:
- Overall, 43 million U.S. residents, or 16 percent of the population, moved to a new residence during the one-year period.
- Four percent of all 1999-2000 movers relocated to the United States from abroad.
- Moving rates decline with age, at least until very advanced ages -- about one-third of people in their 20s moved while only 4 percent of those aged 65 to 84 did so.
- Nearly 33 percent of renters compared with 9 percent of homeowners moved during the one-year period.
- The South was the only region with a significant population increase as a result of internal migration between 1999 and 2000, showing a net gain of 227,000 people.
- Twenty-one percent of those living in households with incomes of less than $25,000 moved, compared with 12 percent of those living in households with incomes of more than $100,000.
- Among those who moved during the one-year period, 26 percent moved for family-related reasons, such as a change in marital status or the desire to establish one's own household.
- Among people living in households with incomes under $10,000, 33 percent moved for family-related reasons and 11 percent for work-related reasons.
- For those living in households with incomes of more than $75,000, 23 percent moved for family-related reasons and 20 percent for work-related reasons.
- The percentage of people who moved for work-related reasons increased in tandem with their educational level, from 14 percent for high school graduates to 28 percent for those with a masters degree or higher.
The Census Bureau warns that the above figures are from a separate survey, not a part of Census 2000. Data on residential mobility from Census 2000 will be released in about a year, says the Census Bureau.
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