Fewer Americans moved in 2018-2019 (for the year ending in March) than any other year since the Census Bureau started tracking that metric in 1947. A report released last month revealed only 9.8% of Americans moved during the latest tracking period; that also marked the first time it fell below 10%.
In the 1950s, about one-fifth of the U.S. population moved each year. Analysts point to demographics and escalating rents for the decline in migration.
The trend is partly a reflection of patterns among millennials as they came of age, suggested William Frey, senior demographer at the Brookings Institution. He said it’s also a continued effect of the Great Recession. “Slowdowns in the housing and job markets and delays in marriage and childbearing pushed their relocation rates down substantially,” he explained.
Abigail Wozniak, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis described the decline in migration as “really widespread.” In an interview with The New York Times¸ she noted it applies to “all demographic groups – younger and older workers, renters and homeowners, more-educated and less-educated workers.”
While describing the change as important, she stated it is too early to tell if it is good or bad.