The percentage of U.S. residents who moved between 2008 and 2009 jumped to 12.5 percent (37.1 million people), according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. That increase comes after a record-low move rate between 2007 and 2008: 11.9 percent, or 35.2 million people.

The bureau’s data comes from the 2009 Current Population Survey conducted between February and April every year at about 100,000 U.S. addresses. It includes residents who are at least 1 year old.

Renters were far more likely to move in 2009 than homeowners (29.2 percent vs. 5.2 percent). At the same time, movers seemed to shun main cities within metropolitan areas, which lost a net 2.1 million movers, while the suburbs gained a net 2.4 million movers.

"Most often, people cited housing-related reasons as their main reason for moving," the report said. "About 17 million movers (45.9 percent) said they wanted to own a home or live in a better neighborhood. Other reasons for moving included family concerns (26.3 percent), employment needs (17.9 percent) and other (9.8 percent)."

Poverty and unemployment were also factors in the move rate. More than a fifth (20.9 percent) of those unemployed had moved in the past year compared with 12.5 percent of employed persons, the report said.

People with incomes below the poverty line were also more likely to have moved in the past year than those with incomes between 100 and 149 percent of the poverty line (23.6 percent vs. 17.5 percent), the report said.

Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest move rate (10.7 percent), followed by Asians (13.8 percent) and Hispanics (15.8 percent), while blacks had the highest rate (16.7 percent), the report said.

More than two-thirds of movers (67.3 percent) stayed within the same county, rising to 2.4 million movers from 2.1 million the year before. The next-highest share of movers (17.2 percent) relocated to a different county in the same state. The remainder either moved from a different state (12.6 percent) or moved to the U.S. from another country (2.9 percent), the report said.

Regionally, only the West saw a significant increase in its move rate, to 14.8 percent from 13.2 percent the year before — the highest rate among the four U.S. regions. The Northeast saw the smallest share of its population relocate (8.1 percent), followed by the Midwest (11.6 percent) and then the South (13.7 percent), the report said.


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