NYTimes: The Mobility of Americans Plunges

The Times has a story running in tomorrow's edition which is a very important window into what is happening in America today:

In its report Wednesday, the Census Bureau said that Americans’ mobility rate, which has been declining for decades, fell to 11.9 percent in 2008, down from 13.2 percent the year before and setting a post-World War II record low. Moves between states plunged the most, to half the rate recorded at the beginning of this decade.

In addition, immigration from overseas was the lowest in more than a decade, which experts attributed to the lack of jobs.

Overall, movers were more likely to be unemployed, renters, poor and black than non-movers.

For decades, several trends have driven a decline in American wanderlust.

Home ownership rates have risen and owners are typically less likely to move than renters. Two-earner families have become more common and finding employment for both spouses in a new location can be challenging. Americans’ median age has been climbing, while younger people usually move most often.

“It does show that the U.S. population, often thought of as the most mobile in the developed world, seems to have been stopped dead in its tracks due a confluence of constraints posed by a tough economic spell,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.

He predicted that the foreclosure crisis might spur more local mobility, within or between counties, as families shift to rented quarters or move in with relatives.