Only 11.9 percent of the population moved last year, the lowest relocation rate since 1948, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Last year’s move rate marked a significant decline from the 13.5 percent of Americans who relocated in 2007. Overall, 35.2 million people moved in the United States last year, down from 38.7 million in 2007.

“Even though the number of people who changed residence in 2008 dropped by 3.5 million from the previous year, millions of Americans continue to move,” said Tom Mesenbourg, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

By region, people in the South (13.5 percent) and in the West (13.2 percent) were likeliest to move in 2008, the Census report shows. The Midwest and the Northeast had move rates of 11.1 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively. In 2008, the Midwest saw the largest decline in its mover rate from 2007.

Among those who moved in 2008, 65 percent moved within the same county, 18 percent moved to a different county within the same state, 13 percent moved to a different state, and 3 percent moved to the U.S. from abroad.

Looking at the civilian population 16 and older who were unemployed, 21.3 percent lived in a different residence one year ago. That compares with 12.3 percent of the population who were employed and lived in a different residence one year ago. Among those not in the labor force, 9 percent lived in a different residence one year ago, according to the report.

In 2008, renters were five times more likely to move than homeowners. More than one-in-four people (27.7 percent) living in renter-occupied housing units lived in a different residence one year earlier. By comparison, the move rate of people living in owner-occupied housing units was 5.4 percent.

Austin Business Journal