Why Aren’t Americans As Mobile Anymore?

June 20, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

The proportion of Americans that move across states has halved in the past two decades. What explains this? Brad Plumer reports on the most likely explanation.

  • A lot of analysts focus on why this might be a bad thing. Perhaps it’s a sign of America aging or perhaps it’s the recession.
  • Yet data doesn’t fit these explanations. Instead it’s because of the changing nature of the job market, and the transformative influence of the internet.
  • Jobs aren’t as location specific as they used to be. The service sector is more uniform than the older manufacturing sector meaning that there’s less of a reason to move.
  • The internet also means that you can research a location before you move to it. Rather than moving and then looking for a job, now people find their job first and then move. This reduces the amount of needless moves.
  • People also have the ability to research where they want to end up in the long run – and that’s where they move first, reducing the need to ever move.

To read many more details including why this explanation makes the most sense, the role that immigrants play, why Wall Street is sort of an exception, and why there’s no need to fret, click here.

Source: The Washington Post

Via: Marginal Revolution