Contrary to popular belief, no great migration in the event of a pandemic
Contrary to popular belief, there was no major migration to the United States during the pandemic.
New figures released Wednesday by the US Census Bureau show that the proportion of people who have moved in the past year has fallen to its lowest level in the 73-year follow-up, at odds with popular anecdotes that people have left cities in droves to escape COVID. -19 restrictions or looking for more bucolic lifestyles.
In 2021, more than 27 million people, or 8.4% of U.S. residents, reported moving in the past year, according to the Current Population Survey’s annual social and economic supplement.
By comparison, 9.3% of US residents moved from 2019 to 2020. Three decades ago, that figure was 17%.
In addition to resulting in restrictions on in-place shelter, the COVID-19 pandemic may have forced people to postpone life cycle events such as marriages or births that often lead to relocations. But the decline is part of a decades-long migratory decline in the United States, said William Frey, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution.
âThese numbers show that a lot of people either didn’t move or moved at a slower pace,â Frey said. “But that’s a longer term trend.”
It doesn’t mean that no one has budged. The only increase in mobility patterns last year was in long-distance travel, state to state, compared to travel within a state or county. Those 4.3 million people who moved to another state may have done so because of the pandemic, Frey said.
Other factors have helped keep Americans there: an aging population, as older people are less likely to move than younger people; the possibility of teleworking to work, which has allowed some workers to change jobs without having to travel; and the rise in house prices and rents that has kept some potential movers in place, demographers said.
âI think the rise of remote working due to COVID coupled with the economic shock is the main reason,â said Mary Craigle, bureau chief for Montana Research and Information Services.
Among those who have moved in the past year, just under half cited factors related to housing as the reason, almost three times those citing reasons related to employment and almost double those related to living. family. Of the 12.3 million people citing housing reasons, more than a third wanted a bigger, better or newer house or apartment, according to the survey.
Those with a bachelor’s or graduate degree had higher mobility rates than those without a high school diploma or only a high school diploma.
Among the regions, the South recorded the largest net migration, 576,000 new residents, while the Northeast lost the most – 146 million people. There have been flows of people moving from rural to metropolitan areas, as well as people moving from major cities to suburbs of the same metropolitan areas, but not in numbers that varied from previous years.
Mobility in the United States has been declining since 1985, when 20% of American residents moved. It was a time when baby boomers were young adults, starting careers, getting married and starting families. By comparison, millennials, who are now in the same age bracket as their baby boomer cohorts in the mid-1980s, are stranded due to high housing costs and underemployment, according to an analysis that Frey did last year.
The slowdown in American mobility is part of a recent stagnation in population dynamics in the United States.The 2020 census shows that the United States grew by only 7.4% in the previous decade, the rate the slowest since between 1930 and 1940. revealed that the population center of the United States moved only 11.8 miles (19 kilometers), the smallest displacement in 100 years.
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