Moving Around, America Style
I’ve recently had some friends in Canada and the UK look at me incredulously when I mention the multiple cities I have lived in, so I explained how America differs in terms of mobility.
I’ve recently had some friends in Canada and the UK look at me incredulously when I mention the multiple cities I have lived in. And while I certainly have American friends who live in the same place they were born and raised, we are — in fact — a nation of nomads. Not in the aimlessly drifting sense, but more to the fact that we have so many choices, from job markets to city scene, that it is very common to move around. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average person in the United States moves residences more than 11 times in his or her lifetime (though this statistic largely pertains to home moves, not necessarily cities). Between college and jobs, I have lived in Vancouver, New York City, Los Angeles, and have enjoyed short term stays for projects in San Francisco, Denver, Toronto, Shanghai and London, so I guess I am well on my way.
I know that many friends of mine have worked in larger monster markets like NYC and LA (or both, which is a very common back & forth story like my own, as their job markets mirror each other), but either started in them to cut their chops before moving on for lifestyle reasons OR worked their way up to get there. This, of course, is a privileged experience and I can only speak to my own background and that of my executive-type colleagues, but traditionally mobility has also had a lot to do with economic situations — opportunities or lack thereof.
According to an article in The Atlantic (Why Do Americans Move So Much More Than Europeans? How the national mythos and U.S. labor laws influence geographic mobility): “Decades of data, including a more recent Gallup study, characterizes the United States as one of the most geographically mobile countries in the world. “About one in four U.S. adults (24 percent) reported moving within the country in the past five years,” the report noted. With the comparable exceptions of Finland (23 percent) and Norway (22 percent), Americans also move considerably more than their European peers.”
The Cities, They Are A-Changing
This brings me to where people are moving. And for those not as familiar with America, some of this may surprise you. As I have written about before, I have thoroughly explored the country and taken time to see for myself what is happening in other markets. As NYC, SF and LA have priced people out and become increasingly crowded, cities like Denver, Austin, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and Nashville are growing substantially and enjoying a robust job market. According to the US News & World Report, many of these cities are on their “10 best places to live in the U.S.”. Young college and career bound people tend to move more, and millennials are almost twice as likely to move counties as the average American, which has given rise to many of the places mentioned too. Big metro areas like San Francisco and Washington, DC, are still millennial hotspots, but so too are more up-and-coming cities like Raleigh, North Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky, both of which are more popular than DC and New York (that’s according to a report by MagnifyMoney, which ranked the biggest boomtowns in America for millennials). Business Insider recently recapped this with multiple stats gathered from the US Census, determining these to be the 25 biggest millennial boomtowns that have seen higher wages, a decrease in unemployment, and a growing millennial population: Salt Lake City UT, Nashville TN, Memphis TN, NY NY, Houston TX, Dallas TX, Austin TX, Detroit MI, Indianapolis IN, Kansas City MS, Washington DC, Columbus OH, Boston MS, Minneapolis MN, Louisville KT, Atlanta GA, Charlotte NC, New Orleans LA, Oklahoma OK, Seattle WA, Portland OR, Raleigh NC, San Jose CA, San Francisco CA, Denver CO.
So….where to next?