Between 2012 and 2013, the Census reports that 35.9 million Americans moved, with the mover rate falling to 11.7%. The mover rate is a measure of geographic mobility provided by the Census, calculated by taking the number of movers divided by the total population over 1 year old.
Geographic mobility, the measure of how populations move over time, fluctuates from year-to-year depending on economic, housing, and family conditions. Year-to-year fluctuations in geographic mobility are best understood by examining reasons for moving.
According to the Census, the most common discernable reason for moving between 2012 and 2013 was to obtain new or better housing at roughly 14.8%. The next distinguishable category of movers at 10.4% did so to establish own household, followed by 9.0% moving because of a new job or job transfer.
For the third straight year the number and share of movers doing so to own rather than rent a home increased. Between 2012 and 2013, approximately 2.1 million or 5.4% of all movers did so to own rather than rent. This represents an increase of 596,000 movers from the reading between 2010 and 2011.
Overall, the new Census data shows household mobility decreased from the prior year. However, the reasons for moving are promising in that the most common reason for moving was to obtain new or better housing, followed by those wishing to establish their own household.