How Often Does the Average American Move?

Try to think about how many times you have moved in the last few years or so. Maybe not at all? Once or twice? Or more?

Moving with the country is an interesting yet complex subject to explore because it significantly impacts demographics and the economies. It is a rather fascinating concept to understand how often people move and what are the key reasons behind it.

One noticeable trait among Americans is our ability to be highly mobile. Every year, millions of United States citizens relocate from their current residence to another area within the same city, county, or state. Research shows that Americans move at least once every five years.

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What do the numbers show?

According to the US Census Bureau, from a total population of 307,243,000 people, more than 35,918,000 citizens moved between the years 2012-2013. That is roughly 11.69% of the population. The US Census Bureau’s findings indicate that out of those nearly 36 million people:

  • 23,150,000 moved within the country
  • 6,961,000 moved to a different county, however, remained in the same state
  • 4,770,000 moved to another state

The only signs that indicate a drop in relocation percentage relate to the increase of a two-earner household. It is much more difficult to move when both partners need to change their jobs, or people aren’t switching jobs as often as they once did in years past.

Nonetheless, the United States counts as one of the most mobile countries in the world. The Census also indicates that furthermore, in addition to an individual moving at least once during five years, throughout the course of one’s life you can expect them to move as many as 11.7 times. The main reasons for moving all coincide with:

  • Housing preferences/needs/desires
  • Family-related
  • Job relocation
  • Other miscellaneous reasons

The number of people moving has been dropping for a while. This decline dates back to 2000 when an approximate 16% higher number of citizens relocated that year. Since then, the numbers have dropped.

What age group moves the most?

Demographics can reveal some very intriguing aspects. With money, it is easier to understand how often people use certain services. While, on the other hand, the market shares of these different moving services, like residential, corporate, military, etc., mention that residential moves constitute a majority of profits. Not too far behind is corporate relocation. The revenue data below gives better clarity:

  • Individual moves equate to $5,544,000,000 or 44%
  • Commercial moves equal $4,914,000,000 or 39%
  • Military moves average out to $2,016,000,000 or 16%
  • All other types of moves are approximately $126,000,000 or 1%

The age group between 18 and 34 years old is the most active. This age range also has an average of one or two children. This age group is also more likely to be renters than apartment owners.

It is worth mentioning that once data outside the age group of 18-34 are explored, the percentage of those who move decreases. This makes sense for the mere reason that minors don’t typically move on their own while those 35 and older settle down.

Those who are wealthy tend to remain where they are, and those who are not as rich move around much more often. The US Census Bureau states that 7% of those who earn up to $100,000 or more a year move, and 13% of those who earn $5,000 or less end up moving.

This finding may appear to be positive as it signals an increase in mobility which is economically beneficial. The reality of it is that the truth is less than desirable. The common reasons for financially disadvantaged people moving include finding cheaper housing, foreclosure, or eviction.

What are the most popular places to move to?

The majority of moves happen within the borders of any state. It is reported that about 85% of all moves occur intrastate. Local moving consists of over 60%, which leaves a small 14% of moves between states.

A lot of the time, people don’t move far away from their current residence. Usually, they move within a 50-mile radius. Only 24.7% move to a distance greater than 500 miles.

After much consulting and monitoring, the most popular states people move to are predominantly along the east and west coastlines. The states listed below are where people migrate more towards:

  1. Florida
  2. Texas
  3. California
  4. North Carolina
  5. New York
  6. Georgia
  7. Arizona
  8. Washington
  9. Virginia
  10. Pennsylvania

In regards to long-distance moving, Florida sees the most inbound traffic. It is a relatively affordable state to live in while the weather is warm throughout the entire year.

To further contrast this, the most abandoned states almost mirrors the list above, with a few slight alterations:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. New York
  4. Florida
  5. Illinois
  6. Virginia
  7. Georgia
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. North Carolina
  10. New Jersey

Why people move

The need or desire to relocate is associated with a variety of reasons. The most significant contributor to moving is the desire to find a new or better home. Just after that, job transfers or new job opportunities consist of the second primary reason for relocation. Other causes for moving include finding cheaper housing, switching to ownership from renting, improving the work commute, marriage, college, and finding a safer area to live.

After one decides to move, the next big question that follows is what happens now? Finding the most reputable and respected movers should be at the top of the priority list. One should always compare moving estimates as well. Since we, as a whole, are likely to move around quite a few times, being knowledgeable on the moving process is your key to success from start to finish.

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