Americans Staying Put

Apr 06, 2004

By George Anderson

“Go west young man” may have been the call to Americans for generations, but it now appears as though it is falling on deaf (or the very least hearing impaired) ears.

According to data from the Census Bureau report, Geographic Mobility: 2002 to 2003, the number of Americans moving from one place to another has slowed considerably as the population ages. Between 2002 and 2003, 40 million Americans (14 percent of the population) moved, compared to 20 percent of the population moving in 1948.

Michael Haines, professor of history and economics at Colgate University told the Christian Science Monitor, “The multimillions of babies born after World War II have grown up and are finding themselves in the middle of their life cycles living where they want to be. They’ve found the communities they want, the school districts for their kids, and have unpacked their bags for good.”

Moderator’s Comment: What will
fewer Americans being willing to move mean for business and consumer marketers?

Robert Fisher of Urban Community Studies Program at the
University of Connecticut told the Christian Science Monitor, “One theory of
American exceptionalism is that we have always had this frontier and geographic
safety valve where people could move to get away from their problems. I don’t
think the numbers here are strong enough to suggest a major change in the culture
just yet. But it is clear that it is developing in that direction.” George
Anderson – Moderator

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