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May 07, 2001

More than half (52 percent) of all of the people who moved between March 1999 and March 2000 did so for housing-related reasons, according to a pair of reports issued by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. These reasons include the desire to own their own home, live in a less expensive home or reside in a better neighborhood.

The Census Bureau cautioned the public not to confuse these estimates, based on survey data collected in March 2000, with Census 2000 data on mobility which will be released in about one year. Findings from these two sources may not agree because of different data collection procedures.

"The desire to live in a new or better house or apartment was the most common reason cited for a short-distance move -- one in which the mover remained in the same county," said Jason Schachter, author of both reports, Geographical Mobility: March 1999 to March 2000 (http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/migrate.html) and Why People Move: Exploring the March 2000 Current Population Survey (http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/migrate.html).

Another 16 percent who moved did so for work-related reasons, such as looking for work and the desire for an easier commute.

"A new job or a job transfer was the most common reason cited for a long-distance move, that is, moving from one county to another," said Schachter.

Fifty-six percent of all moves made between 1999 and 2000 were within the same county, compared with 64 percent from 1997 to 1998. Nineteen percent of all moves made between 1999 and 2000 were from one state to another, up from 15 percent of those made between 1997 and 1998. An additional 20 percent who moved during the recent one-year period moved between counties in the same state, unchanged from the earlier period.

The reports also found:

- Overall, 43 million U.S. residents, or 16 percent of the population, moved to a new residence during the one-year period.

- Four percent of all 1999-2000 movers relocated to the United States from abroad.

- Moving rates decline with age, at least until very advanced ages -- about one-third of people in their 20s moved while only 4 percent of those aged 65 to 84 did so.

- Nearly 33 percent of renters compared with 9 percent of homeowners moved during the one-year period.

- The South was the only region with a significant population increase as a result of internal migration between 1999 and 2000, showing a net gain of 227,000 people.

- Twenty-one percent of those living in households with incomes of less than $25,000 moved, compared with 12 percent of those living in households with incomes of more than $100,000.

- Among those who moved during the one-year period, 26 percent moved for family-related reasons, such as a change in marital status or the desire to establish one's own household.

- Among people living in households with incomes under $10,000, 33 percent moved for family-related reasons and 11 percent for work-related reasons.

- For those living in households with incomes of more than $75,000, 23 percent moved for family-related reasons and 20 percent for work-related reasons.

- The percentage of people who moved for work-related reasons increased in tandem with their educational level, from 14 percent for high school graduates to 28 percent for those with a masters degree or higher.

The data were collected in the March 2000 Current Population Survey (CPS). As in all surveys, data are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.

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