Thursday, July 10, 2014
Americans are Moving Less - This is More Good Than Bad
Moving to a new home is down among Americans over the past generation.
Business Insider, from which this chart is taken, thinks this is a bad thing. High mobility is good for the housing industry, which is a big component of our gross domestic product.
My first thought on seeing this chart, though, is that stability is good for community. People who stay are more likely to get to know their neighbors, have commitments to their community, and to benefit themselves from reducing the inevitable stress of moving.
Moreover, people who know they are staying are free to make big investments in their community, knowing that they themselves will reap some of the benefits.
When Mrs. G and I decided that we were never moving again, we were free to (expensively) renovate our house for the long term. This is good for the local housing industry. And this investment is not just in our own home. It made sense for us to invest in trees, and to help organize the neighbors for a mass tree planting in our neighborhood.
Both stability and mobility have economic benefits, for different sectors of the economy. But stability has clear benefits for communities, and transience has large costs.