- The most common reason that Americans have moved from one home to another over the past several years has been directly related to housing — whether it’s to move into a better home, seek cheaper housing or eviction. However, between 2021 and 2022, family and employment grew to make up a larger share of the reasons why people move, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau survey.
- Wanting a better or larger home is still the most common reason cited for moving, but it makes up a smaller share of the survey sample in 2022 than it did the previous year — 14.4%, down from 17.2% in 2021.
- At the same time, family-related moves have become more common. Just over 11% of movers did so to establish their own households, while 6% did so because of a marital change — up from 4.8% the previous year.
The decline in movers looking for better housing suggests a “reversal” from COVID-19 pandemic-era trends, according to the study. While people spent more time at home, remodeling projects and moves to better housing situations surged. In the same study in 2020, 14.6% of households cited better housing as their reason for moving; this is not statistically significant compared to 2022’s final percentage, the report said.
At the same time, the increase in the number of people moving for family-related reasons in 2022 may be driven by households resuming plans that were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, 6.1% of households cited a change in marital status as their reason for moving. Much like with moves to better housing, this percentage is not statistically different from 6.0% in 2022, but separated by a dip in 2021, the report said.
Separately, an estimated 12% fewer marriages and divorces took place in 2020 than Bowling Green State University researchers expected based on past data.
The moving data is derived from the U.S. Census’s Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which asks respondents who moved in the previous year about their reasons for moving, as well as the type of move they had made.
Out of all respondents, more than half — 53.5% — moved from inside the same county where they already lived. Just under 42% moved from somewhere else inside the United States — 24.3% within the same state and 17.3% from a different state — while 4.9% had moved to the U.S. from abroad, a category that includes Puerto Rico and U.S. outlying islands.
Movement from abroad has risen significantly since the last survey, up from 2.9% in 2021, which the Census attributes to the end of pandemic-era travel restrictions.