This Is Why People Are Moving

Nearly 10% of Americans move every year. Why? The main reasons are work, housing, and family-related. We break down all of these reasons and more, to help you understand nationwide migration trends.

In 2018, over 32 million Americans moved. That was by no means a coincidence.

Every year, about 10% of the country moves. That’s a lot of people!

With all of these individuals moving, you have to wonder… WHY?

Just thinking of moving is overwhelming for most folks, so why is the average American moving so often?

It turns out there are three top reasons people move:

Housing, Family, and Work.

We will dive into each of these as well as other common reasons people across the country are moving.

If you are one of the millions of people moving soon, take a look at our moving cost calculator, for a quick and easy estimate from the best moving companies in the industry.

1. Housing-Related Reasons:

The US Census Bureau does a great job of classifying the reasons people move. The number one reason they have in their research is housing-related reasons.

Housing-related reasons made up over 41% of the moves of 2018 (or 13.4 of 32.4 million moves).

The following table shows how housing-related reasons are divided:

Table 1: Numbers in thousands.

  • The #1 housing-related reason people move is because they want a new or better home.
  • The second reason in this category is that people want cheaper housing.
  • Closely following that, is people moving because they want to own their new home instead of their current renting situation.
  • The next housing-related reason that people are moving is because they want to live in a better neighborhood. This includes escaping the crime of their old neighborhood.
  • The final reason in this category that people are moving is due to foreclosures or evictions.

2. Family-Related Reasons:

An often overlooked yet significant reason people move is because of family. I know it sounds like that means people are trying to get away from their loved ones, but it can be for a number of reasons.

Anything from newlyweds moving in together, people wanting to be closer to family, or others wanting to get their adult lives started will fall into this category.

Family-related reasons made up about 28% of the moves of 2018 (or 9.1 of 32.4 million moves).

The following table shows how family-related reasons are divided:

Table 2: Numbers in thousands.

  • The #1 family-related reason people move is to establish their own household. This can be interpreted as someone moving out of their parents’ home.
  • The other main reason in this category, people are moving is due to a change in marital status. So – that’s anything from a new marriage to divorce.

3. Work-Related Reasons:

In an ever-interconnected world, people are finding jobs all over the country and even the world. This means that people are relocating for employment-related reasons a lot.

Work-related reasons made up almost 20% of the moves of 2018 (or 6.4 of 32.4 million moves).

The following table shows how work-related reasons are divided:

Table 3: Numbers in thousands.

  • The #1 work-related reason people move is because of a new job or job transfer. This makes sense because it means that most people moving for job-related reasons are assuring their job prospects before packing up their things.
  • The next work-related reason that people move is for an easier commute to work.
  • After that, people are moving because of a lost job or in search of a new one.
  • And the final main job-related reason people move is because they’re retiring.

If you’re considering moving for work, let us help. We made a tool to help you decide if moving for work is a good idea.

4. Other Reasons:

The total of moves not related to housing, family, or work made up the remaining 11% of the moves of 2018 (or 3.5 of 32.4 million moves).

“Other” reasons are divided into the following:

Table 4: Numbers in thousands.

  • The #1 reason people moved in 2018 that’s not related to housing, work, or family is people going to attend or leave college.
  • Health is the next reason in this category followed by climate change and natural disasters respectively.

Why People Move Is Important:

Seeing that such a high percentage of the country moves every year, understanding why they move becomes crucial. To understand this behavior is to understand essential aspects of society as a whole.

I know it may seem like almost arbitrary moving facts but it’s more than that. Following the tendencies of why people are moving, you can start to understand the reality of the society as a whole.

If people are moving because they’re being evicted or because sea levels are rising, that’s a bad sign. On the contrary, if people are moving to attend college and to go from renting to owning their home, that’s good.

If anything, this information can serve to make you, as a mover, feel a little less alone and a little more at ease. When you see that so many others are also moving across the country, you know that it can be done.

Something else that will help you with your move is our moving cost calculator. It’s a really cool and simple tool that gives you free estimates from the best moving companies in the country. Give it a try!

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