THE SOURCE: “Internal Migration in the United States” by Raven Molloy, Christopher L. Smith, and Abigail Wozniak, in Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2011.
Americans like to think of themselves as a restless people, always ready to pack up and move in search of opportunity. But in the past 30 years, they have been increasingly stuck in place.
In the 1980s, for example, 3 percent of men migrated from one state to another every year; by the 2000s, only 1.7 percent made such moves. What lies behind this “historically unprecedented” 30-year decline? Raven Molloy and Christopher L. Smith, economists at the Federal Reserve Board, and Abigail Wozniak, an economist at the University of Notre Dame, say the trend defies easy explanation. It has endured for too long to be blamed on the ups and downs of the economy, and it has affected virtually every segment of the population.
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