Residential migration and mobility, both interstate and domestic, has been declining steadily for a few years now. About 10 percent of Americans on average moved out of state, in the last five years. But between the 1940s through the 1980s, domestic migration rates were consistently around 20 percent. This has implications for the housing market as well as the broader economy, as domestic migration is often a prerequisite for economic mobility, not to mention a key driver of real estate investment.
In an April 19 seminar hosted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, research assistant Riordan Frost went over the decline of mobility in the US and possible reasons for the steady downturn in residential mobility and migration.
Although possible reasons for this include “house passion,” America’s obsession with homeownership, and zoning laws and construction caps that make it harder to find an affordable home, Frost was able to present a few more possible reasons for this long-term decline in domestic migration.
One reason Frost mentioned was an increase in multi-generational housing, that is, 18-24 year-olds staying at home for longer. Although the lack of mobility among young American adults has been a common trend across decades, Frost suspects