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Census Bureau: Relocation rate lowest since tracking began in 1948


WASHINGTON – April 27, 2009 – The U.S. Census Bureau announced last week that the national mover rate declined from 13.2 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2008 — its lowest rate since the bureau began tracking these data in 1948.

In 2008, 35.2 million people 1 year and older changed residences within the U.S., 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.

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.

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 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 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).

The 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.

© 2009 FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

  Related Topics: Demographics
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