Census: Americans Are Moving More

January 14, 2013

Americans are on the move again—at the highest level since before the recession. About 3.9 percent—or 11.8 million—of Americans moved to a different county in 2011, according to newly released Census data. 

While the number is improving, the percentage is still low by historical standards, but it is inching off record lows seen in 2009 and 2010. In 2010 and 2009, moves to different counties were about 3.5 percent—the lowest level since the government started tracking such data in 1948.

When people move between counties, they’re usually relocating due to jobs, according to Census demographers. 

The 2011 increase is "one of the many indicators showing that the worst of the recession is probably over and we're starting to inch back," William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, told The Wall Street Journal.

The populations moving the most are 25-to-29 year olds—who have been “stymied by the weak labor market” in recent years, Frey says. "They're the ones who've been stuck at home because of the economic downturn," Frey said. "The so-called lost generation seems to have stirred a little bit."

Also, another demographer notes, retirees began to move more in 2011. 

The states that gained the most in population in 2011 due to domestic moves were Florida and Nevada, according to the Census data. 

Source: “Americans Get Moving Amid Torpid Recovery,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 9, 2013)

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