US Mobility Rate at Historic Lows with Moving Driven by Housing, Not Jobs


  • Americans moving to the country’s biggest metros are mainly searching for better quality housing and better neighborhoods.
  • Gen Xers are the country’s most mobile generation, making up 40% of all the people moving to large urban centers, while Millennials represent only 32%, despite the fact that the Millennial generation is more numerous and obviously younger than Gen X, and might be expected to move at a higher rate.
  • The southern metros – Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottdale, and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land – are the big gainers in terms of population change.
  • The biggest losers in terms of population change are the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, New-York-Newark-Jersey City and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metros.

Mobility in the US might be on a descending trend, but a sizable proportion of Americans still move every year, which has significant implications for local economies and urban dynamics.

Considering the huge impact that the moving industry has on the self-storage sector, we here at STORAGECafé identified the country’s most dynamic cities in terms of inbound migration and also looked at population changes, in order to see the major migration patterns within the US and find out whether the housing and self-storage sectors are adjusting to those patterns.

We analyzed migration data in the country’s 389 metros and ranked the 100 biggest metros for inbound migration. For each of them, we also determined the actual population change. When it comes to migration patterns, we couldn’t help but notice that the top ten metros for inbound migration account for a significant chunk of the people moving around the United States. Of the 25 million people who moved from anywhere in the US to a metro in 2017, almost 2.8 million, or 11%, headed towards one of those top 10 metros.

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