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September 1, 2014

The Recession Changes Americans' Moving Patterns

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The Recession Changes Americans' Moving Patterns

Moves across county and state lines are falling, with the 2007-2009 recession blamed for changing Americans’ moving patterns, according to an analysis of census data through 2010. The Great Recession caused more Americans to move because they could no longer afford to remain where they were. That's a big change in what traditionally motivates Americans to move -- a bigger home or higher paying job, USA Today reports about the analysis.

Nine percent of Americans stayed local with their moves during 2007-2009 period -- the highest in a decade. 

"Typically, over the last couple of decades, when Americans moved, they moved to improve their lives," says Michael Stoll, author of the research and chairman of UCLA's public policy department. "This is the shock: For the first time, Americans are moving for downward economic mobility. Either they lost their house or can't afford where they're renting currently or needed to save money.”

More than 23 percent moved for more affordable housing during the recession. Prior to the recession, that percentage stood at 20.8 percent. 

Also, prior to the recession, 41.3 percent of Americans moved in order to own a home or settle into a better neighborhood. However, during the recession, that percentage dropped to 30.4 percent. 

Source: “Americans on the Move Start Moving Down, Not Up; Setback in Upward Mobility Hits Blacks, Sun Belt Spots Hardest,” USA Today (Feb. 20, 2013)

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