Insights

Americans No Longer On The Move
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Americans No Longer On The Move

From 1947 to 1969, nearly 20 percent of the American population moved every year, as they relocated to new areas offering economic growth and opportunity.  Since then, mobility has steadily declined, to 15 percent in 2000, and to 11.9 percent in 2007 — a forty percent decline versus the average year between 1947 and 1969.  What has changed that has led to this decline?

First, the population of the country is getting older – and older people are less likely to move.  Second, the growing incidence of two worker couples impedes mobility: it can be much more difficult for two spouses to find new jobs in a new city.  But as the Baby Boomers start to retire in the next few years, mobility rates could increase as they decide where to spend their golden years.

The top five cities/markets with the greatest stability are:

  1. Wheeling-Steubenville WV-OH
  2. Johnstown-Altoona PA
  3. Pittsburgh PA
  4. Wilkes Barre-Scranton PA
  5. Youngstown OH

Meanwhile, the markets with the least stability, that is, the highest levels of mobility, are:

  1. Las Vegas NV
  2. Palm Springs CA
  3. Austin TX
  4. Phoenix AZ
  5. Reno NV

“The current economic downturn will certainly slow moving rates among parts of the population.  However, as the unemployment rate continues to rise, many workers may move in search of new opportunities.  High rates of unemployment will not only adversely impact sales of consumer products, but must-have staples still get purchased.  If those workers leave for new locales, even those purchases are removed from the market,” said Doug Anderson, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Nielsen.

Read the full article about the economic impact of declining mobility and which markets have the least and greatest stability in the April edition of Consumer Insight.