According to data recently released by the Census Bureau, Americans are moving at the lowest rate on record. While this data represents moving rates on a whole, the reason for the lagging numbers can be largely traced back to Millennials who are moving at a significantly lower rate than earlier generations of young adults.
Looking Back at the Generations
The Pew Researh Center reports that Millennials are less likely to move than prior generations of adults. While the Silent Generation in 1963 moved at a rate of 26 percent, the Early Bloomers of 1981 moved at a rate of 25 percent. Late Bloomers in 1990 moved at a rate of 27 percent while Gen Xers in 2000 moved at a rate of 26 percent. Millennials in 2016, on the other hand, moved at a rate of 20 percent, with migration being determined by whether or not the individual currently lived at a different address when compared to one year earlier. The data is also restricted to those who were between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of the study for each generation since those between the ages of 18 and 24 are frequently staying at dormitories and accurate tracking of this data can be difficult
The Millennial Conundrum
Interestingly, while Millennials are moving at lower rates than previous generations, they are missing many of the factors that typically impede movement. For example, Millennials are less likely than previous generations to be married as young adults. In fact, only 42 percent of Millennials between the ages of 25 and 35 were married and living with a spouse in 2016. By contract, 82 percent of 25 through 35-year-olds in the Silent Generation were married and living with their spouses in 1963. In theory, this should provide them with a greater amount of flexibility.
As might be expected, Millennials are also less likely to have a child than their counterparts from previous generations. In 2016, 56 percent of Millennials between the ages of 25 and 35 were childless. The same was true of less than half of Gen Xers and Boomers.
Millennials are also less likely to be tied down by homeownership, with only 37 percent of Millennials living in an owner-occupied home that was not owned by their parents in 2016. By contrast, 56 percent of Baby Boomers of the same age lived in an owner-occupied home in 1981.
On the other hand, while Millennials may not be tied down by marriage, children or a home, labor market opportunities may be playing a role in their decision to stay put. In fact, for those who have moved in the last year, employment opportunities were the prime motivation for making the move. Financial considerations may also be having an impact, as lending standards are much tighter now than they used to be. When combined with student debt, Millennials who are interested in moving may simply find that it is not financially feasible.