Saturday, December 10, 2011

More Americans staying put

In addition to rising unemployment and declining retail sales, the recession also has more people staying put in their current residence. According to statistics from the 2010 American Community Survey, only 15 percent of Americans lived in a different home a year ago, down from more than 16 percent of the population moving in 2005. According to the Brookings Institution fewer U.S. residents moved in 2010 than in any year since 1948.*

The map shows the proportion of population that lived in a different house the prior year (data 2006-2010), with the darkest colors representing areas with the highest proportion of people who stayed in the same house, and lightest colors representing areas with the most movers. Not surprisingly, given the housing bubble, Arizona, Nevada had relatively high rates of movers, while rural areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama had few movers.
Percent of the population who reported living in the "same house" the prior year (2008-2010).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, author's calculations
This changing migration dynamic has important repercussions for states like California, which historically were high in-migration states. Despite California's reputation as being a state of newcomers, in 2010 a majority (54 percent) of residents were California-born. (U.S. Census Bureau, Lifetime Mobility in the United States). As a result of this change, Dowell Myers asks in his article "The New Homegrown Majority in California"
"How is the stance taken by voters with regard to taxation and services different if California is growing because of migration by outsiders rather than growing from California-born residents? What does the shift from a reliance on high migration to a homegrown majority mean for today's taxpayers?"
California is not yet approaching the level of "homegrown" population seen in states like Louisiana (79 percent) or Michigan (77 percent). But neither is it like Florida, Alaska, Arizona, or Washington DC, all of which have 60 percent or more of their population born out-of-state.

*Note: Brookings puts the number of movers at 35.1 million, but I pulled the figures from the American Community Suvey for 2010 and found more than 45 million, so take the "lowest since 1948" quote with the proverbial grain of salt.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (2010),
"Selected Social Characteristics in the United States" - downloaded 12/9/11

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