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Why Some Americans Won’t Move, Even for a Higher Salary

A new study identifies powerful psychological factors that connect people to places, and that mean more to them than money.
Moving costs more than just renting a truck.
Moving costs more than just renting a truck.Noah Berger/Reuters

Mobility in the United States has fallen to record lows. In 1985, nearly 20 percent of Americans had changed their residence within the preceding 12 months, but by 2018, fewer than ten percent had. That’s the lowest level since 1948, when the Census Bureau first started tracking mobility.

The decline in Americans’ mobility has been staggering, as the chart below shows. Mobility rates have fallen for nearly every group, across age, gender, income, homeownership status, and marital status.