Top 2024 Trends in a Nutshell



January 3, 2024

Moving is on the decline but long-distance moves are picking up

Back in February 2023, CBS News reported the results of the Brookings Institution research on migration numbers, pronouncing the long-term trend of migration as being in decline. According to the Brookings findings, from 2021 to 2022, only about 9% of Americans moved, ranging from local to long-distance moves. That’s pretty low when compared to about 20% of Americans who moved each year from the 1940s to 1960s.

One of the reasons, researchers offered, was that it was easier to move during the decades when more households were single-earner homes vs. double-earner households today. At the same time, long-distance moves, including both cross-country and interstate moves, have increased in recent years, the Brookings study pointed out.

The results of a study conducted and published by Architectural Digest in the summer of 2023 also prove this to be true, even if you look at data during the peak years of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the study points out, 13.7% of Americans moved in 2019 compared to 12.8% in 2021.

At the same time, there’s also evidence this downward trend is changing and the Americans of today are restless. The research team at Architectural Digest surveyed 1,000 individuals on their moving plans for 2023 and what would compel them to move in the future. It found that roughly 29% plan to move in 2023, and another nearly 26% aspire to move but have no plans to do so.

According to the U.S. Census April 2023 report that looked at the 2019-2021 data:

  • In 2019, 7.6% of the U.S. population aged one year or older moved to a new residence in the same county; by 2021, that percentage had declined to 6.7%.
  • The percentage of those who reported that they had moved the previous year to a new residence in a different county within the same state increased from 3.2% to 3.3%. between 2019 and 2021.
  • Movers to a new residence in a different state increased from 2.3% to 2.4% in the same period.
  • The percentage of movers from abroad aged one year or older declined slightly from 0.6% to 0.5% during this period.
  • Declines in the total mover rate appear to be tied to a drop in the number of people making same-county moves, the largest category (roughly 25 million in 2019 and about 22 million in 2021).
  • All four regions defined for the U.S. Census Bureau purposes as Northeast, Midwest, South, and West experienced declines in the total percentage of movers between the 2019 and 2021 data, especially when it came to local moves within the same county. The Northeast saw the smallest decline in mover rates, from 11.4% to 11.0%.

Gen Z and millennials move the most

According to the same study, about 39% have relocated or plan to in 2023, driven by affordability, jobs and safety concerns. Gen Z (28%) and baby boomers (18%) would be willing to move to communities that share their beliefs and values. More than 30% of younger generations (Gen Z and millennials) want to relocate to a safer area. Wanting to move to achieve more affordable living is another big reason across generations.

The top reasons for moving are financial, family and wanting more space

A “2023 Study: Where, How and Why Are Americans Moving This Year?” by HireAHelper determined that 40% of the people surveyed planned on moving at some point in 2023, and more than half (55%) of those not moving this year would move if they had the means. The top reasons were financial, such as inflation, cost of living and housing unaffordability (38%); family (30%), and wanting more space/a bigger house (25%). Climate change was another big consideration for many Americans (15%).

Who Is Moving?

The Architectural Digest and HireAHelper studies show the following:

  • Though Gen X and baby boomers say they’re up for making a change, Gen Z and millennials have more solidified plans to move in 2023. The intent to move seems to fade as the person ages: almost half (49%) of Gen Z respondents reported a planned move sometime in 2023, followed by millennials (42%), and dropping to 27% for baby boomers.
  • More than one in three Gen Z and millennials say they have already moved or plan to move in 2023. Meanwhile, only about 1 in 10 baby boomers say they moved this year or will do so in the second half of 2023.
  • Gen Z and millennials are also potentially moving longer distances. Nearly 7% of Gen Z’ers say they will move across state lines this year compared to only 3% of Gen X’ers.
  • Parents with one or two kids were more likely to be planning a move in 2023 than non-parents (41% vs. 36%). However, for families with three or more children, the percentage of those staying put exceeded the percentage of prospective movers.

Top Reasons People Want to Move in 2023

Unsurprisingly, affordability is the number one reason people are willing to move. Out of everyone surveyed by Architectural Digest, across all generations, about 85% cited this as their top reason. Nearly 42% of respondents reported that finding an area with more affordable housing or a lower cost of living would compel them to move.

Here are the top nine reasons people would want to move in descending order of popularity:

  1. To have more affordable housing or lower cost of living
  2. To live in a safer area
  3. Moving for a new job
  4. To be closer to my family and friends
  5. To live in an area more aligned with my beliefs
  6. Better schools
  7. Lower taxes
  8. Effects of climate change
  9. My job requires me to be back in the office

HireAHelper study results intersect with the reasons cited above, but not entirely. The top reasons to move for this study were:

  1. Family
  2. Wanting more space or a bigger home
  3. Inflation
  4. New job
  5. Lower cost of living
  6. Climate change
  7. Affordability
  8. Better weather
  9. End of relationship/divorce

Reasons People Don’t Want to Move

Studies showed that Americans are fully aware of the downsides of moving. Several moving deterrents were cited, including for people who want to move but don’t plan to due to these top six reasons:

  1. Moving is expensive
  2. Moving is stressful
  3. I can’t afford housing where I want to live
  4. I would be too far away from my family
  5. I am worried about making a big change
  6. I am worried it may not work out

In What Season People Move Most  

In the summer. Each season has its pros and cons, but typically, it’s considered that the best time to move is mid-September through April. Summer could be an ideal time if you are selling your home since demand is highest and you may get a higher price. Also, if you are moving with children then this season is ideal since they won’t be in school.

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