Moving Statistics – Interesting Facts about Relocation


America is a country that’s always on the go. Whether it is for vacation or relocation, residents of this country rarely stay in one place for long. At any time, an interstate highway in nearly any region of the nation generally overflows with traffic.

When looking at the numbers of Americans relocating, a simple analysis of the latest moving statistics reveals a few interesting trends. In the following article, let’s dive a little deeper into the data on Americans moving to new towns and cities all over the land.

Over 40 Million Americans move Each Year

According to data from the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), over 40 million Americans move each year. While that trend lessened somewhat in the wake of the Great Recession, as revealed by the United States Census Bureau, the number of citizens relocating on an annual basis is back on an upwards trend. This accounts for around 17 percent of all Americans — a number that keeps moving companies busy all over the country.

The recent recession definitely hampered the number of Americans choosing to relocate. 2011 saw a record low in the mover rate at 11.6 percent according to the Census Bureau, which still accounts for tens of millions of citizens. The record high for mover rate occurred in 1985 at 20.2 percent — nearly 50 million of the country’s 238 million residents at that time.

A Multitude of Reasons for Relocation

Americans relocate for a variety of reasons, and the most popular motivations vary by the distance moved. For example, the Census Bureau noted that movers relocating over distances greater than 500 miles listed their job as the prevalent reason — nearly 44 percent according to data from 2008 to 2009. On the other hand, a housing related rationale was given by only 11.6 percent of those long haul movers.

Conversely, 40 percent of those who relocated within a distance of 50 miles stated a housing related reason. Moving a long distance can be disruptive to a family, so it makes sense that so many do so only because of work.

When looking at everyone who relocates, regardless of the distance moved, both housing and job issues rank towards the top of the reported reasons, according to Census data from 2009. Other motivations include: family related issues (including a change in marital status), too much crime in their current neighborhood, an easier commute, either attending or graduating from college, and health issues.

What States are Popular for Movers?

Not surprisingly, the Sunbelt remains a popular relocation destination for many Americans, with some surprising exceptions. According to 2005 AMSA data, Florida, Texas, and California saw the most inbound goods shipped by moving companies. The same three Sunbelt states ranked at the top of the 2005 AMSA list for outbound goods, which implies many who relocated simply decided to stay in the sun that year. In 2010 however, Alaska, Vermont, and Oregon surprisingly ranked at the top of the AMSA list.

These fascinating snapshots of data reveal the continued popularity of the Western and Southern regions of the country, but with some interesting exceptions.

The Moving Industry continues to Grow

Of course, with 40 million Americans moving each year, it stands to reason that the prospects for the nation’s moving industry remain robust. The AMSA notes that over 8,000 companies currently exist in the moving industry; employing 122,600 workers, with an annual payroll of $3.6 billion. Smaller firms — those with less than five employees — make up 47.8 percent of the industry, with larger companies — employing 100 or more workers — only taking up 8.5 percent.

The industry typically totals upwards of $17 billion in revenue on an annual basis. While a majority of the business is involved with shipping household goods (almost 68 percent), over 25 percent includes transporting computers and other office equipment. Businesses occasionally need to relocate as well. In fact, corporate moves account for one-third of the moving industry’s relocation business activity.

This look at a variety of moving statistics offered some insight to why people move, where they are relocating to, and how this activity supports a robust American business sector. If you are faced with your own relocation, rest assured that you are most definitely not alone. 40 million Americans are also moving each year.



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