Amidst a number of supposed indicators of economic recovery, I found one to be particularly interesting: there was a slight uptick in mobility in 2011.
As a whole, Americans were slowly finding ways to get back on the move. About 12 percent of the nation’s population, or 36.5 million, moved to a new home, up from a record low of 11.6 percent in 2011.
Among young adults 25 to 29, the most mobile age group, moves also increased to 24.6 percent from a low of 24.1 percent in the previous year. Longer-distance moves, typically for those seeking new careers in other regions of the country, rose modestly from 3.4 percent to 3.8 percent.
I have always found American mobility numbers fascinating. In a record low year for mobility (2011), more than 1 in 10 Americans moved. Even though longer-distance moves are less frequent, even moving between residences can often be a big task.
And this story hints that some of this mobility is due to choice; when economic times are bad like in recent years, mobility is decreased but when the economy improves, people have more opportunities to move. If this is indeed the case and we take the argument further, could we suggest Americans celebrate economic prosperity and success by being less rooted and moving more?