In 2017, the household mobility rate dropped to an all-time low of 10.9 percent (34.9 million) since the U.S. Census Bureau began keeping track of it 50 years ago. A recent Trulia report reveals this trend follows all generations — even millennials, the free-wheeling group of 18- to 35-year-olds, are moving at a much lower rate, with 38.4 percent of them still living with parents or relatives.

But when millennials do decide to branch out on their own, they’re moving for much different reasons than their parents or grandparents did decades ago.

While baby boomers often moved because of marriage, millennials are moving to establish their own household (18 percent). In 2000, young adults moved to establish their own household 2.5 times more frequently than they did because of marriage, and 17 years later, they are doing so 4.2 times more frequently.

Other popular reasons for moving include the opportunity for better housing options (16.1 percent) or the prospect of a new job or job transfer (11.9 percent), easier commutes (7.5 percent) and cheaper housing (7.2 percent).

When gender is factored in, young women are now more likely to move for a new job opportunity than they were nearly two decades ago (14 percent). In 2017, 19 percent of millennial women moved for a job, thus closing the gap between them and their male counterparts by 5 percentage points.

Lastly, millennials, according to the report, “moved for new or better housing at the same rate as the previous generation of young adults in 2000 (Gen X-ers), climbing back to 16 percent from a recession low of 13 percent in 2008,” which could result in added market pressure at the starter home level.

“This demand could put even more pressure on smaller, starter homes. We’ve documented the continued inventory crunch in the US, as well as the market mismatch between demand for starter and trade-up homes and what’s available on the market,” the report said.

“These trends spell trouble for prospective homebuyers, but a look back on 2017 new construction offers some hope — last year was the best year for homebuilding activity in a decade, meaning 2018 should see increased growth in single-family construction and inventory.”

Read the full study here.


We used U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey (CPS) microdata to calculate the mobility rate and determine the reasons why people moved. All figures represent householders, and not individuals, as all individuals in a household are assigned the householder’s reason for moving. We categorize all head of households under 35 in 2017 as millennials.

Email Marian McPherson.

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