Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Dec 22nd 2008 at 8:37am UTC

Movers and Stayers

Who moves, and who stays put? A new study by the Pew Research Center takes a close look. The study finds that fewer Americans are moving now than previously. Some 13 percent of Americans moved from 2006 to 2007, down from a high of 21 percent in 1951; the Census predicts a further decline to 11.9 percent by 2009. That said, America remains a highly mobile society. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of adults said they have moved to a new community at least once in their lives; 15 percent say they have lived in four or more states.

Highly educated people are much more likely to be mobile: more than three-quarters (77 percent) of college graduates have moved at least once compared to 56 percent of those with a high school diploma. Younger Americans, unmarried people, and those who are foreign-born are among the most likely to move. The Midwest is the most rooted region; the West the most mobile. The main reasons stayers stay: family ties, a desire to stay in their home town.

One Response to “Movers and Stayers”

  1. Saul Kaplan Says:

    Richard I hope you are doing well. No question that Gen-Yers are picking a place first and than deciding what they will do once they get there. It requires a mental shift for dinosaurs like me who early in my career picked a job and went where the company said. I have unlearned that behavior. Place matters as you know. If your community is fortunate enough to attract the creative class you are ahead of the game. But having a strong creative class is a necessary but not sufficient condition to a thriving and strong local economy. The creative class want to have an impact and access to opportunities to create and to make enough money to afford to live in their communities. If the opportunities aren’t there as the Pew data points out they will leave and find another community.

    There remains a big gap between the conversation going on in the executive suite of today’s global companies and the communities that they reside in. Today, companies move capabilities around the globe like pieces on a chess board. The importance of local communities has diminished in the board room. Communities have not recognized the change and learned how to make themselves relevant in the executive suite strategic conversation. Communities must learn to participate in this conversation and to add strategic value. Most are still stuck in an industrial era model of economic development.

    Communities must increase their innovation capacity and learn how to connect the creative class in purposeful networks that can create real economic value and progress on some of the big issues of our time including health care, education, energy independence, and public safety. These are all systems level issues that will require systems level solutions. Communities must enable actionable platforms which will compel the creative class to connect across silos and provide opportunities for them to have the impact and earn the money that they need to stick to a community for the long haul.

    Saul Kaplan
    Founder and Chief Catalyst
    Business Innovation Factory