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For Many, the Personal Cost of Moving Outweighs Potential Economic Benefit

Another explanation for the declining mobility of Americans is revealed by a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
June 4, 2019, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Richard Florida picks up the news of a new study [pdf] from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that suggests emotional and psychological factors might be responsible for the declining rate of mobility among the American population.

In this case, Florida is talking about mobility in terms of the number of Americans who change their location of residence. "Mobility in the United States has fallen to record lows," explains Florida for context. "In 1985, nearly 20 percent of Americans had changed their residence within the preceding 12 months, but by 2018, fewer than ten percent had."

While past studies have credited the economic crisis, expensive housing prices in desirable locations, and similarities between job markets as factors in declining mobility.

Enter the Federal Reserve bank of New York, which "uses data from the bank’s Survey of Consumer Expectations to examine the degree to which people’s attachment to their communities affects their willingness and ability to move," according to Florida's explanation.

"A significant reason for the decline in mobility is that many of us are highly attached to our towns," explains Florida of the study's findings. While 47 percent of respondents identify as rooted, only 15 percent identify as stuck. Another big take way from the study is insight into how the costs of moving, especially personal costs, can outweigh the potential economic benefits of moving.

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Published on Thursday, May 30, 2019 in CityLab
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