Americans on the Move Again, Census Says

US Census BureauAfter staying in place for years, bogged down by the financial effects of the recession, Americans are finally back on the move, according to the latest U.S. Census data.

In 2012, nearly 16.9 million people moved between counties, and 7 million made long-distance moves from one state to another. For long-distance moves, that figure was nearly 5 percent higher than 2010.

The recession had the effect of “freezing people in place” as they waited out a housing and economic slump, and now there’s “at least a thawing,” Kenneth Johnson, a demographer with the University of New Hampshire, told USA Today.

The median price of an existing-home rose to $212,100 this year compared to $166,200 in 2011, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. Many home owners “didn’t want to sell a house that they viewed as a low price,” says Jed Smith, an NAR economist. “Now that the prices are up, away we go.”

Where are they going? Many people are heading to the Sun Belt states: Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, Johnson says. They’re moving from Northeastern and Midwestern cities, such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and New York. For example, the state of New York lost about 136,000 residents in 2012.

On the other hand, metro areas such as Miami-Fort Lauderdale, which lost residents during the recession, regained population in 2012 — particularly as housing and the economy recovers there. Las Vegas; Jacksonville, Fla.; and San Jose, Calif., are other metros gaining residents after a loss, USA Today reports.

Source: “Census: Americans are moving again,” USA Today (Oct. 26, 2013)

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