Posts Tagged ‘demographic trends’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jan 30th 2009 at 8:53am UTC

The Mobility Paradox

Friday, January 30th, 2009
Nearly half of all Americans would like to move to a new place. Trouble is, the credit crisis and economic downturn have effectively locked them into their current location. Residential mobility levels approach record lows, according to recent reports by the U.S. Census and the Pew Research Center. USA Today’s Haya El-Nassar, one of my favorite trackers of demographic trends, reports:

Whether they favor cities, suburbs or the countryside, almost half wish they lived somewhere else, the report found. Denver, San Diego and Seattle are the top picks of the 30 largest metropolitan areas. Denver is the favorite city among Republicans, and it also rates well with Democrats and independents … In addition to Denver, favorite cities among Republicans are Phoenix, Orlando and San Antonio. Half of all liberals would like to live in San Francisco, more than double the share of conservatives. San Diego, once a bastion of conservatism, appeals to Democrats, liberals and moderates.

46% would prefer to live in a different type of community from the one they now reside. Adults 50 to 64 who live in cities are the least likely to say they live in the ideal place; two-thirds of those in that age group who live in the country say they couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Young people are the opposite: 57% of urban dwellers younger than 30 say the city is where they want to live. … “Fewer than half of all city residents say there is no better place to live than in a city.” … A smaller proportion of women express the desire to live in the nation’s largest cities  … Wanting to live outside cities doesn’t necessarily mean people reject urban lifestyles, however. The appeal of developments with an urban flair — ones that combine housing, stores and offices in a neighborhood setting — is growing.

My main take away: America’s two great dreams – the dream of unlimited economic opportunity and to own a single family home – are running head on into one another. Home ownership means less economic mobility when you can’t sell your home. The big cost of the housing crisis may not be what’s happening in the financial markets, it may be the long-run competitive damage caused by sagging labor mobility and the inability to flexibly match the location of workers to the location of jobs.