Recession Forces Mobile Americans to Stay Put - Miller-McCune
By many accounts, social mobility in America has been on the decline for several decades. Families are increasingly marooned in their income class. Or worse, some adults actually seem to be falling out of the tax brackets in which they were raised (which is decidedly not the kind of mobility most of us have in mind).
New Census data suggest we’re losing mobility of a different kind: around and across the country, not just up and down its income scales. Americans are literally less mobile than they’ve been at any time since World War II. And this is a troubling trend, too. Some of the decline — which predates the recession — speaks to an aging population that isn’t all that interested in going anywhere. But much of it tracks the immobility of Americans — particularly 20- to 24-year-olds, who would presumably love to leave their parents’ basements if they could.
Miller-McCune’s Washington correspondent Emily Badger follows the ideas informing, explaining and influencing government, from the local think tank circuit to academic research that shapes D.C. policy from afar.
“Those are the years when people move,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. “They break out of their parents’ homes, they break out of college, they’re starting their careers, they want to be off on their own. The fact that it’s had such a big decline, even in the last five years, means these young people are really putting off their careers, their family lives, their independence.”
Americans in this age group typically move more than anyone else. But that’s no longer the case. Those 25 to 29 years old have supplanted them.
Across the entire country, only 11.6 percent of residents moved last year — and Frey suggests, glumly, that some of these people relocated to move in with each other. By contrast, in the early 1950s, a staggering 20 percent of Americans up and moved each year.