by Pew Research, 2/23/17.
Americans are moving at the lowest rate on record, and recently released Census Bureau data show that a primary reason is that Millennials are moving significantly less than earlier generations of young adults.
In 2016, only 20% of Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds reported having lived at a different address one year earlier. One-year migration rates were much higher for older generations when they were the same age. For example, when members of the Silent Generation were ages 25 to 35 back in 1963, 26% reported moving within the prior year. And in 2000, when those in Generation X were the age that older Millennials are today, 26% of them reported having moved in the previous year. (The analysis is limited to older young adults because the census data source does not accurately capture moves to and from college dormitories, which are more prevalent among 18- to 24-year-olds.)
It may seem counterintuitive that Millennials would be contributing to a trend toward less geographic mobility. After all, according to Pew Research Center analysis of Current Population Survey data, they are less likely than earlier generations to have three things that tend to be impediments to moving for a young adult:
A spouse. Millennials are less likely than previous generations of young adults to be married, so that should give them more flexibility than earlier generations. Married young adults are less likely to move than unmarried ones, in part because a married couple’s move may entail two people lining up new employment…
A house. Today’s Millennials are less likely to be tied down by owning a house. It is presumably less disruptive and potentially less costly to move from a rental unit than it is to sell a house, so one would expect renters to be more mobile than homeowners…
A child. Young adults also are more likely to migrate if there are no children present in the household. In 2016, a majority (56%) of Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds were childless (in terms of not having a child of their own living with them). Fewer than half of Gen Xers and Boomers were childless at a similar stage of life.
So, if Millennials are less hampered by spouses, houses and kids, why are they moving less than previous generations did at their age?