Census: Weak Economy Limited Mobility in 2010

By: - November 16, 2011 12:00 am

The faltering economy and stalled housing market have crimped Americans’ wanderlust. The percentage of people who moved last year was the lowest since the federal government began collecting the information in 1948, new data show.

Of the 11.6 percent who did move in 2010, only 1.6 percent moved to a different state, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday (November 15). 

The top five state-to-state moves in 2010 were from California to Texas (68,959 movers), New York to Florida (55,011), Florida to Georgia (49,901), California to Arizona (47,164) and New Jersey to Pennsylvania (42,456).

When people moved a considerable distance — 500 or more miles — it was most likely for employment-related reasons, which were cited by 43.9 percent of such movers, as opposed to housing-related reasons, given by 11.6 percent, the bureau said. Conversely, when people didn’t move far — fewer than 50 miles — 40.0 percent did so for housing-related reasons.

As of 2010, the majority of Americans (59 percent) lived in the state in which they were born. The state with the highest such percentage was Louisiana (78.8 percent), followed by Michigan (76.6 percent), Ohio (75.1 percent) and Pennsylvania (74.0 percent). Conversely, in four states — Alaska, Arizona, Florida and Nevada — and in the District of Columbia, fewer than 40 percent of residents were born in that state or state-equivalent. Nevada, with less than a quarter, had the lowest percentage in the nation. 

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