More Americans Are Staying Put
Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
WASHINGTON (AP) â€” The South and West are still hot destinations for people moving out of state, but for the past 15 years an aging American population has increasingly been leaving moving boxes in the attic and suitcases in the back of the closet.
New estimates released Wednesday by the Census Bureau show that 15.9 percent of the population, or about 43 million people, moved between March 1998 and March 1999, slightly less than the 16 percent who moved in the previous one-year period.
The pace of relocations last picked up between March 1984 and March 1985 when 20.2 percent of Americans changed addresses, up from 17.3 percent the previous year.
While the economy is good, analysts attribute the trend in large part to the graying of the American population, including the baby boom generation hitting middle age, and an increase in home ownership.
Baby boomers typically are defined as those born between 1946 and 1964.
In July 1999, the median age of the American population was 35.5, compared with 32.8 in July 1990. The National Association of Realtors said the median age of homebuyers jumped from 34 in 1989 to 39 in 1999
``The older you get, the less likely you are to move,'' Census demographer Carol Faber said.
There were 186 million homeowners in 1999, 26 million more than in 1988, and homeowners are less likely to relocate than renters, according to the Census Bureau. During the same time, the number of renters increased just 5 million, to 81 million. The agency didn't track that statistic before 1988.
When people do move, they don't go far. Between March 1998 and March 1999, 59 percent of movers relocated within the same county, and 20 percent went to another county in the same state.
Eighteen percent went out-of-state, and those people usually went to warmer locales in the South and West, reflecting decade-long shifts in the American population, Faber said.
The Northeast had the lowest moving rate among the nation's regions (11.7 percent), followed by the Midwest (15.1 percent). The South (17.1 percent) and the West (18.5 percent) were both above the national average.
The South and West continue to attract people because of corporate moves and retirement, said Kevin Roth, a senior economist at the National Association of Realtors. The average homebuyer in the South moved 259 miles, Roth said, while two-thirds of homebuyers in the Northeast moved 10 miles or fewer.
More people are still moving out of big cities than into them, but the net migration into metropolitan areas was 1.4 million people, the largest net gain since 2.4 million people moved into metro areas between 1991 and 1992.
Last year, 3.7 million people moved into cities, while 6.2 million moved out. More than 6.5 million moved into suburban communities last year, while 3.9 million moved out.
The majority of the metro area growth was due to 1.3 million new residents classified by the Census Bureau as ``movers from abroad.'' About 40 percent of all people who moved into the country were non-Hispanic whites, and 32 percent were of Hispanic origin.
``That's the only thing that saved the Northeast â€” persons from abroad,'' Faber said. ``That seems to be what makes the difference, because so many people from abroad settle in metro areas rather than non-metro areas.''
Other highlights from the report:
â€”About 1 in 3 renters, compared with fewer than 1 in 10 homeowners, moved during the one-year period.
â€”Moving rates declined with age: 32 percent of people in their 20s moved while only 5 percent of those 65 and over did so.
On the Net: Census Bureau Web site: http://www.census.gov