Economics and Americans Migrating Less

According to the latest information published by the U.S. Census Bureau the percentage of people that move every year equates to 14 percent of the population, or roughly 40 million people. There are various reasons why people move each year; jobs, family, retirement, etc. Migration patterns can be of interest as it relates to business and economics. Everything from real estate to manufacturing will be affected.  Job creation happens best where there is a considerable pool of talent. Companies will surely do their due diligence when relocating or adding new plants based upon such data. The following picture of America gives us a broad look at this migration pattern.

It has been well predicted that the flow of people would continue to the south, and more specifically to the Carolinas and Texas. You see on television almost daily the commercials touting car companies like BMW, who have located to Spartanburg, South Carolina. A combination of politics and taxes helped, but they surely knew that the labor pool would be favorable to them in this location. The following shows the top 5 states with the largest population move both inbound and outbound.

With that said, fewer Americans are making the decision to move, reflecting less economic mobility across the country overall. A survey by Atlas Van Lines shows that in 2017, there were 72,986 interstate and cross-border moves, down from 75,427 in 2016. Much of the country is now balanced, with 23 states showing virtually no change in their populations in 2017. The U.S. Census Bureau has been tracking migration data since 1948, and have found that only 11 percent of all Americans relocated in 2017, the lowest rate ever recorded. Housing is the main driving factor in this. People who rent are not moving in the numbers that they once did. Charlynn Burd, a geographer with the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division, said housing cost-related reasons (43%) are the most frequently cited justification for moving.

A couple things jump out at you from this data. More politically conservative states like Georgia and South Carolina are seeing an influx of people, while the more politically liberal states like California in the west, and New York and New Jersey in the east, are seeing outflows. Many are leaving California for Idaho, which came from nowhere several years ago to rank first and second, respectively, in the last two years as the top area of migration.

From the baby boomers to the millennials, the share of Americans moving to a new location continued a steady decline in 2017, an indicator of a less mobile workforce that reflects both an aging society and economic problems facing younger workers. The U.S. has typically led other developed nations in migration between its own borders. However, economic reasons have driven this down. More millennials are unable to find affordable housing, whether it is ownership or more likely rental, thus necessitating the need to live with their families for longer than anticipated. As mentioned, the other end of the age spectrum shows the baby boomers less migratory than that of previous retirement generations.

Some analysts say the recently signed GOP tax overhaul, and President Trump’s efforts to reduce government regulations on business, could help strengthen the American economy and spur migration. Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School, estimates that the Great Recession resulted in 4 million fewer births than what otherwise might have been. Lingering effects from the recession and demographics suggest that many people will remain tethered to where they are.

About John Thomas

John Patrick Thomas is a four-time cancer survivor who lives with his family in South Florida. John attended Gettysburg College and The American University before embarking on an entrepreneurial career on Wall Street. He turned to the teaching profession after his life-threatening bout with bone cancer. John has recently written a #1 Amazon Cancer Bestselling book entitled, “A Call to Faith, the Journey of a Cancer Survivor.” He has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, The Washington Post, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center publications, and was featured in new DayStar network series, “Impact with Pastor Dave.” He has traveled as a missionary and may be one of the few people that tell you cancer was the best thing to ever happen to him. You’ll have to ask him why.

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