Monday, December 29, 2008
Pew Research Center - Americans are settling down: Only 13% of the U.S. population changed residences between 2006 and 2007, the lowest share since the Census Bureau began to publish statistics on this topic in the late 1940s. A new national survey by the Pew Research Center explores the social and economic dimensions of geographic mobility in the United States. Its main findings:
More than six-in-ten adults (63%) have moved to a new community at least once in their lives, while 37% have never left their hometowns.
- Most adults (57%) have not lived outside their current home state in the U.S. At the opposite end of the spectrum, 15% have lived in four or more states.
- More than one-in-five U.S.-born adults (23%) say the place they consider home in their heart isn't where they're living now. And among those who have lived in two or more communities, fully 38% say they aren't living in their "œheart home"� now.
- The most common reasons people identify some other place as home are that it's where they were born or raised (26%); where they lived the longest (18%); or where their family is from (15%). Just 4% say it's where they went to high school.
- Blacks are more likely than whites to say the place they're living now isn't their "œheart home."� Among adults who have lived in at least two communities, 54% of blacks and just 35% of whites say they identify most with a former hometown. Hispanics fall in the middle; 40% say they identify most with a former hometown.
-. Just four-in-ten of those who identify someplace else as home want to go back and live there. But about half stay in close touch with family and friends back home, either by visiting several times a year (45%), or by phoning (53%) or emailing (46%) at least once a week.
- The Midwest is the most rooted region: 46% of adult residents there say they have spent their entire life in one community. The least rooted is the West, where only 30% of adult residents have stayed in their hometown. Residents of the South (36%) and East (38%) fall in between.
- Three-quarters of college graduates (77%) have changed communities at least once, compared with just over half (56%) of those with a high school diploma or less. College graduates also are more likely to have lived in multiple states.
- Asked why they have not left their hometown, "œstayers"� cite major reasons such as the tug of family ties (74%), the desire to remain where they grew up (69%) and their belief that their communities are good places to raise children (59%). Fewer than half (40%) say a major reason for staying put is a job or business opportunities.
- The most frequently cited major reason that movers give for choosing their current community is job or business opportunities (44%). Somewhat smaller shares of movers say they relocated to where they now live because their new community is a good place to raise children (36%) or because they have family ties there (35%).
- Westerners are more likely than residents of other regions to choose amenities-climate and recreation-as major reasons for living where they do. This is true for those who were born there and never left, as well as for those who have moved there.
- Levels of community satisfaction do not appear to be correlated with people's past mobility patterns. Equal shares of movers and stayers-about six-in-ten-rate their current community as good or excellent.
- Four-in-ten Americans say they are very likely or somewhat likely to move within five years. Among those especially likely to say so are younger people, unmarried Americans and the foreign born.