The 3 Prevailing Reasons that People Move in America

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Housing is still the biggest overall reason for moving in America, but what are the specifics behind those moves?

Nearly 36 million people moved in the United States between 2012 and 2013, and housing was the main reason for their moves, according to new Census Bureau data recently covered by The Wall Street Journal.

Forty-eight percent of the people who moved, the Census Bureau found, did so for housing-related reasons, far above the second-place reason of family (at 30 percent).

Housing Motivations for the Move

Though many people moved for housing reasons, the specific motivations for the move differed quite substantially from 1999 to 2013, and in ways that say quite a bit of where housing and the general economy have progressed. The key differences:

1. In 1999, 21 percent of people moved to find a new/better residence; in 2013, that percentage dropped to 15.

2. Homeownership was also less of a draw; in 1999, 7.8 percent of movers made the decision out of a desire to own, but in 2013, only 5.8 percent did so.

3. Finally, the two factors that saw sizable jumps in appeal were cheaper housing and shorter commute times. In 2013, 8.3 percent of movers did so to find more affordable housing (up from 6 percent in 1999), while 5.4 percent moved to ease the commute (up from 3.1 percent).

Check out our graph below for additional perspective on how moving and housing have changed in the last 13 years.

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