Americans are moving at some of the lowest rates in more than 50 years, but long-distance moves are becoming slightly more common, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

According to a report, “Geographical Mobility: 2002 to 2003,” the 40 million people who moved between 2002 and 2003 comprised 14 percent of the population, down sharply from a rate of 20 percent in 1948 when the Census Bureau first began collecting information on movers.

In 2003, however, 19 percent of all moves were to a different state, up from 16 percent in 1994.

Among people who changed residence between 2002 and 2003, most (51 percent) moved for housing-related reasons, then family reasons (26 percent) and work-related reasons (16 percent).

Between 2002 and 2003, the Midwest and the Northeast experienced net losses of about 100,000 people in domestic migration, while both the South and the West showed net gains (125,000 and 74,000, respectively).

In 2003, about one-third of 20- to 29-year-olds had moved in the previous year, more than twice the moving rate of all people age 1 and older.

Nearly one-third of people living in rented housing units in 2003 moved during the previous year.

Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest moving rate (12 percent), while Hispanics, who may be of any race, and blacks had the highest rate (18 percent each), closely followed by Asians (17 percent).

People with income below the poverty level were more likely to have moved (24 percent) than those not in poverty (13 percent).

The estimates are from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the 2003 Current Population Survey.

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