Thursday, September 4, 2008

The distance you move increases with your education level

Today, the Census Bureau released its annual Mobility of the Population report for the period 2006-2007. In all, 38.7 million people moved during the period 2006-2007. Of those 38.7 million movers, 25.2 million (65.1%) stayed in the same county, 7.4 million (19.2%) moved to a different county within the same state, 4.9 million (12.6%) moved to a different state, and 1.2 million (3.1%) moved abroad.

The report further breaks down the statistics into age brackets, education, marital status, and nativity. Did you know that there is a positive correlation between distance moved and education?

This chart points out two obvious facts. First, most people tend to move within their counties, or at least within the state. Anecdotally, this tends to be the case for the greater Boston area (Essex Country). Second, people with a higher level of education tend to move farther away.

There is a 20% differential between the % of moving individuals without a high-school degree (70.3) and the % of moving individuals with a graduate degree (50.6) that move within the county. I imaging that work relationships are built within the county, especially for labor-intensive jobs, and expected income depends on staying in close proximity to those relationships. Think about a construction job, where available work often depends on “who you know.”

Leaving the county is the biggest boundary across any education level. However, for every education level, except those with a graduate degree, he/she is still more likely to simply move to a different county, rather than to move across state lines.

Finally, there is just a 1.8% differential between the % of moving individuals without a high-school degree (5.1) and the % of moving individuals with a graduate degree (6.9) that move abroad. Upon first glance, this seems quite striking, except that age groups 1-17 are included in the survey. This statistic is likely picking up children who move with their parents abroad.

It will be interesting to see if these statistics change with higher gas prices. People may move more readily out of the county to be closer to urban areas, thereby reducing commuting time.

Please leave comments. Best, Rebecca Wilder

1 comment:

  1. Interesting graph. You are right; the job is your key concern until you retire. Then all sorts of things come into play. Never thought to focus on educations level vs. moving distances.

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