Mobility Stalled, Americans Are Stuck in Place

The Associated Press


WASHINGTON -- Yet another symptom of the economic downturn: Americans aren't moving.

Young adults are staying put, often with their parents. Older people aren't able to retire to beachfront or lakeside homes.

U.S. mobility is at its lowest point since World War II.

New information from the Census Bureau highlights the continuing impact of the housing bust and unemployment on U.S. migration, after earlier signs that mobility was back on the upswing. It's a shift from America's long-standing cultural image of ever-changing frontiers, dating to the westward migration of the 1800s and more recently in the spreading out of whites, blacks and Hispanics in the Sun Belt's housing boom.

Rather than housing magnets such as Arizona, Florida and Nevada, it is now the historically well-populated states -- California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey -- that are showing some of the biggest population gains in the recent economic slump, according to the data released Thursday.

Residents have been largely locked in place. Families are stuck in devalued homes and young adults are living with parents or staying put in the towns where they went to college.