Reduced American mobility

One of the hallmarks of American life in the last 60 years is the incredible mobility. Even a few years ago, the average American family moved every 5-6 years.

But this has changed with the recent economic downtown:

“We’re seeing one of the lowest mobility rates in a century,” says Nathaniel Karp, chief economist for banking firm BBVA Compass. Karp says the recession has forced many people to stay put because they are unable to sell their homes, cannot find jobs or are unwilling to relocate for work if it means sacrificing a partner’s stable position.

The slowdown makes the question of who’s moving and why even more significant than in years past.

If people can move frequently, it leads to people being able to move to where the jobs are available, it means that the housing market has more people who are selling and buying, and it influences the middle-class and above ethos that you can determine your own destiny.

This psychological feeling that movement is possible might have a profound effect if the mobility rate stays low. In recent decades, the decently educated and paid American could expect that they would come out of school, move to where a job was available, move up to a house, and then continue a cycle of better job leading to better house and then going to a better job and so on. But this has changed somewhat: college graduates are returning home more frequently and there are many who are stuck in houses where they owe too much money.

Overall, this would impact what it means to be middle class: it would still lead to having certain levels of education and consumption but it wouldn’t mean the greater “freedom” of being able to move where one wants to.

0 thoughts on “Reduced American mobility

  1. Pingback: YMCA survey: 58% of Americans would move if they could | Legally Sociable

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