The U.S. Census Bureau has issued a series of useful tables and charts on geographic mobility trends, which are highly relevant to the planning and operation of employment and training programs. We have summarized the key findings related to employment, and included the links to each type of data.


Americans are a mobile population, exemplified by the early westward expansion.  But, even following the change in the frontier in 1890 after all the current states had been settled, Americans continued their marked propensity to move. 

The 20th century witnessed mass immigration, the migration of African Americans from the South northward, and the later Rust Belt-to-Sun Belt migration. 

Americans are no longer as peripatetic, but in any given year, about one in nine households change residences. The cumulative effect of this rate of mobility is a substantial impact on the U.S. economy.

Key Trends in Geographic Mobility

A 2010 study found that more than two-fifths of Americans no longer resided in the state, territory or country where they were born — and this of course includes many children and young people who will later move.

By age 75 or older, only half of Americans resided in the state where they were born.  However, even this figure does not count most moves, which tend to occur within states.  Based on recent patterns, the average 18 year-old is expected to move 9 more times in his or her lifetime.

                    Farmworker driving vehicle

Summary on Geographic Mobility Trends and Data sources

You can find information in the summary document included on this page regarding:

   • How mobile Americans are, and how much they move;

   • What the Job-related and other reasons behind moves were;

   • How far people move;

   • How to find state, metro area, and county-specific

      geographic mobility data;

   • What geographic mobility mapping tools are available;

   • How to define geographic terminology; and

   • What Internet links to geographic mobility data exist.

                           Census Bureau thumbnail