A new study identifies powerful psychological factors that connect people to places, and that mean more to them than money.
Mobility in the United States has fallen to record lows. In 1985, nearly 20 percent of Americans had changed their residence within the preceding 12 months, but by 2018, fewer than ten percent had. That’s the lowest level since 1948, when the Census Bureau first started tracking mobility.
The decline in Americans’ mobility has been staggering, as the chart below shows. Mobility rates have fallen for nearly every group, across age, gender, income, homeownership status, and marital status.
Declining mobility contributes to a host of economic and social issues: less economic dynamism, lower rates of innovation, and lower productivity. By locking people into place, it exacerbates inequality by limiting the economic opportunities for workers.
Long-run trends in geographic migration in the United States