Migration patterns in the United States are changing, and it appears as though the recession is the cause of these changes. From 2009 to 2010, approximately 10,500,000 U.S.citizens moved from one county to another. This may sound like a lot of people moving, but it is actually the lowest domestic migration level since the government began tracking this statistic in 1947.
Slightly greater numbers (11,000,000) moved the previous year. This shows a significant drop from the 15,800,000 who moved from one county to another from 2004 to 2005. The significant difference is that the economy was doing relatively well in 2004 to 2005.
Experts claim that the recession has had a significant influence on American housing and local moving decisions, effectively freezing Americans in place by making long moves cost-prohibitive. This is a continuation of a familiar trend in American history, revealing a pattern that relates to the Great Depression and the 1970’s energy crisis.
One of the aspects that is unusual about the current migration patterns is that migration has dropped in many of the areas that have had consistently high migration rates. For instance, Florida has shown its first decline in migration since the 1940’s.
In addition to domestic migration, immigration to the United States from other countries has also declined dramatically, dropping by half from the 1,800,000 who immigrated toAmericafrom 2004 to 2005. This too is attributed to the current economic recession.
Total moves within the United States, including moves within the same county, are estimated at 37,000,000 in 2009-2010. In terms of motivation, studies show that moves within the same county are more likely to be driven by housing issues. Recently, those moving shorter distances made up about two thirds of all movers. This indicates that many movers made their moves because of housing and economic issues, as opposed to family or job reasons. According to a major survey, about 16% of people said they moved for job reasons, 33% for family reasons, and 40% for housing reasons.
Studies also showed that individuals and families who lived below the poverty line were more likely to relocate than people with incomes slightly above the poverty line.
All of these statistics seem to indicate that the current economic recession is causing many people to move to more affordable housing within their counties, but limiting their abilities to move to higher value properties outside of their counties. It also indicates that fewer people are making long distance moves and international moves for jobs because high paying jobs that demand relocation are not as plentiful.