1 in 5 US Millennials Moved Within the Past Year

November 28, 2017

Some 34.9 million people ages 1 and older in the US moved residences within the past year, resulting in a national mover rate of 11%, statistically unchanged from last year’s all-time low of 11.2%, according to data from the US Census Bureau. The mover rate is down from about 1 in 5 people when the survey began in 1948.

Renters continue to move at a far higher rate than owners (21.7% and 5.5%, respectively). However, the mover rate for renters declined to a historic low: for comparison’s sake, more than one-third (35.3%) of renters moved in 1988.

Youth continued to be the most likely to move, as roughly 1 in 5 18-34-year-olds moved between 2016 and 2017.

That suggests that brands have an interesting way to reach about 20% of the Millennial population: through paid search. Recent data from Hitwise indicates that “high-intent” movers are 88% more likely than the online population average to run a “near me” search.

That may also prove an opportunity to reach multicultural groups, whose mover rate was higher than the White-alone population. More than one-eighth (13.1%) of the African-American-alone population moved between 2016 and 2017, as did 12.1% of the Asian-alone and 11.7% of the Hispanic population. By comparison, only 10% of the non-Hispanic white population moved over the past year.

The majority of Americans who moved last year moved within the same county (61.9%), while fewer than 1 in 12 (7.7%) moved to a different region.

Interestingly, the older population seemed most likely to make significant moves. For example, 60-61-year-olds were the least likely to stay in the same county (just 49.2%), with the 85+ bracket the next-least likely (56.1%). Moreover, the 85+ (11.4%) and 70-74 (11.1%) brackets were the most likely to have moved to a different region.

Looking at other demographic cuts, the data reveals that:

  • The mover rate was almost twice as high among those living below the poverty level (17.4%) than those at 150% of the poverty level and above (9.8%);
  • The mover rate was higher among those with a college degree than those without; and
  • Among movers, those with a graduate degree were more likely than those with lesser educational attainment to leave their county (46.7%) and to move to a different region (14.2%).

The greater likelihood of those with advanced to degrees to make significant moves could be related to employment. Overall, fewer than 1 in 5 movers (18.9%) reported moving for an employment-related reason. More commonly, they moved for a family-related reason (27.9%) or for a housing-related reason (43%).

Research indicates that movers represent strong marketing opportunities – as they commonly make purchases related to their move. Movers tend to be big spenders, and are prone to switching behavior.

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