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Why do people move?


WASHINGTON – June 5, 2014 – Among 36 million people who moved between 2012 and 2013, 5 percent said the most important reason for moving was to be closer to work or for an easier commute, while another 8 percent cited the desire for cheaper housing, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The most common reason for moving in 2013 was "wanted new or better home/apartment."

The report, Reason for Moving: 2012 to 2013, presents an in-depth look at 19 reasons why people changed residences during the previous year. It's the Census Bureau's first on this topic since 2001, and the report compares numbers to 1999.

Overall, the reasons for moving haven't changed, but a higher percentage of people now move for pragmatic reasons, such as saving money. While "new or better home" still topped the list of reasons, it was cited by only 14.8 percent of respondents recently. In 1999, 20.8 percent of Americans moved to improve their circumstances.

In addition, 6 percent moved in 1999 for cheaper housing; last year that parentage rose to 8.3 percent. And the percentage that hoped to lower their commute costs to work was only 3.1 percent in 1999; last year it was 5.4 percent.

"We asked people to select the reason that contributed most to their decision to move," said the report's author, David Ihrke, a demographer in the Census Bureau's Journey to Work and Migration Statistics Branch. "Picking one reason can be difficult as moves are often motivated by many different, and oftentimes competing, factors. For instance, if one's primary reason for moving is to be closer to work or having an easier commute, they may have to sacrifice other preferences. This could include forgoing cheaper housing options or settling for a different neighborhood. If they mainly want cheaper housing, they may have to deal with a longer commute."

Some people moved for a better job, but the Census study finds that reason increases based on the distance of the move: 23 percent of moves less than 50 miles were for job-related reasons, but it was 48 percent of those 500 miles or more.

Other highlights

″ Men were more likely than women to move for job-related reasons.

″ Better-educated people were more likely to move for job-related reasons than those with lower levels of education.

″ Married respondents were the least likely to move for family-related reasons.

″ Moves within the same county were typically for housing-related reasons, while intercounty moves and moves from abroad were more for job-related reasons.

″ Several individual reasons, such as "change of climate," "health reasons" and "natural disaster," were each cited as the main reason for moving by fewer than 1 percent of householders.

For people who seeking to move, dwellr, a new Census Bureau app powered by American Community Survey statistics, can pull up a list of U.S. locations that matches users' preferences for such variables as city size, geographic region and job type.

The full survey is available on the Census Bureau's website.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®


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