Report: Where Americans are moving — and how far they’re going

March 26, 2019 - 2 min read

Chicago and Denver top the list

Americans are moving less than ever. And when they do pack up and leave? According to new data, most are staying in the area, with 55 percent moving less than 50 miles away.

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Moving gets less common

According to a new analysis from, Americans are moving half as often as they did 70 years ago. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that only a mere 10 percent of people are moving each year. That’s down from more than 20 percent in the 1940s.

“In the past 70 years, the percentage of the U.S. population moving in a given year has steadily fallen,” the study reports. “Within the U.S., just over 10 percent of the population moves each year. That might sound like a lot of ‘movees’ — but compared to moving rates over the past 70 years, people are relocating less than ever.”

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The analysis points to aging and labor trends as reasons behind the decline. According to the Federal Reserve, employers have just gotten better at local recruiting — so job-related moves are being less necessary.

Stats show it’s true, too. In 2017 and 2018, 41.6 percent of Americans moved due to housing reasons — upgrading their home, establishing their own household, cheaper housing costs, etc. Only 19.6 percent moved for employment purposes.

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Where Americans are migrating

When they do move, a large majority of Americans are staying nearby. More than 53 percent move less than 50 miles away, while another 12 percent move 51 to 300 miles away. About 14 percent move 1,000 miles or more.

Of those that move out of state, Florida is a top spot, with 9 percent of all moves destined for the Sunshine State. California, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia are also top spots.

At the city level, people are gravitating toward major inland metros like Chicago, Denver and Atlanta. Charlotte, North Carolina, and Houston are also top spots for out-of-state movers.

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Aly J. Yale
Authored By: Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate writer based in Houston who has contributed to Forbes and worked for organizations such as The Dallas Morning News, PBS, NBC, and Radio Disney.