The Ashes

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April 25, 2009

Residential Mover Rate in U.S. is Lowest Since Census Bureau Began Tracking in 1948

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Filed under : General

us-census-bureauThe U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the national mover rate declined from 13.2 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2008 — the lowest rate since the bureau began tracking these data in 1948.

In 2008, 35.2 million people 1 year and older changed residences in the U.S. within the past year, representing a decrease from 38.7 million in 2007 and the smallest number of residents to move since 1962.

“Even though the number of people who changed residence in 2008 dropped by 3.5 million from the previous year, millions of Americans continue to move,” said Tom Mesenbourg, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “As we gear up for the 2010 Census, we will be looking to get an accurate count of everyone in the country, regardless of whether they moved in the past year or not.”

By region, people in the South (13.5 percent) and in the West (13.2 percent) were likeliest to move in 2008. (The two rates were not statistically different.) The Midwest and the Northeast had mover rates of 11.1 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively. In 2008, the Midwest saw the largest decline in its mover rate from 2007.

Among those who moved in 2008, 65 percent moved within the same county, 18 percent moved to a different county within the same state, 13 percent moved to a different state, and 3 percent moved to the U.S. from abroad.

Editor’s note: The information can be accessed at

Principal cities within metropolitan areas experienced a net loss of 2 million movers, while the suburbs had a net gain of 2.2 million movers.

Looking at the civilian population 16 and older who were unemployed, 21.3 percent lived in a different residence one year ago. This compares with 12.3 percent of the population who were employed and lived in a different residence one year ago. Among those not in the labor force, 9 percent lived in a different residence one year ago.

In 2008, renters were five times more likely to move than homeowners. More than one-in-four people (27.7 percent) living in renter-occupied housing units lived in a different residence one year earlier. By comparison, the mover rate of people living in owner-occupied housing units was 5.4 percent.

  Other highlights:

  --  Of the population for whom poverty is determined: 22.8 percent below
      100 percent of the poverty level moved within the last year, 16.3
      percent between 100 and 149 percent of the poverty level moved within
      the last year and 9.7 percent at or above 150 percent of the poverty
      level moved within the last year.
  --  While the number of intercounty movers who lived 500 or more miles
      from their previous residence one year ago (2.8 million) was not
      statistically different in 2008 than 2007, the number of intercounty
      movers who lived less than 50 miles away one year ago decreased from
      5.1 million to 4.4 million between 2007 and 2008.
  --  The most common reasons for moving were housing related (such as the
      desire to own a home or live in a better neighborhood), representing
      40.1 percent or 14.1 million movers. The distribution among those who
      gave other reasons for moving was: family related (30.5 percent),
      employment related (20.9 percent) and other (8.5 percent).

  --  The black alone population had the highest mover rate (16 percent),
      followed by Hispanics (15 percent), Asian alone (13 percent) and white
      alone, not Hispanic (10 percent).

These statistics come from Geographical Mobility: 2008, a series of tables that describe the comparison between place of residence at the time of the March survey and place of residence one year earlier. The tables include data on types of moves, the characteristics of movers and reasons why people moved.

The data are from the 2008 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which is conducted in February, March and April at about 100,000 addresses nationwide. Statistics from surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For more information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, see Appendix G at

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