Monday, March 23, 2015

Millions Want to Move

A substantial 9.6 percent of American households say they want to move, according to a Census Bureau study of residential mobility. But few actually follow through on that desire. With geographic mobility at a record low, the timing could not be better for an analysis of who wants to move and what they do about it.

Among the 11 million householders who said they wanted to move in 2010, only 18 percent actually moved in the following 12 months. And as fate would have it, millions of householders who did not express a desire to move in 2010 ended up moving, although at a lower rate (10 percent). Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, the Census Bureau analyzed the characteristics of those who wanted to move in 2010 and those who did move in the following 12 months. Among the many characteristics examined in the report, age was one of the most important. Americans under age 35 are most likely to want to move (14.6 percent wanted to move in 2010), and they are also most likely to actually move (27.8 percent moved between 2010 and 2011). Many of the households that ended up moving, however, were not the ones who wanted to move, and many of those who wanted to move were in the same residence a year later. 

Many people change their minds about wanting to move. The 56 percent majority of those who said they wanted to move in 2010 but stayed put no longer expressed a desire to move when re-interviewed in 2011. "Desiring to move because of residential dissatisfaction appeared to be dynamic," explains the Census Bureau's Peter J. Mateyka, "with many respondents' reports of desiring to move changing one year later, despite living in the same residence."

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