Many People Move Each Year – and Who Are They?
By David Bancroft Avrick
Over the past quarter century I’ve heard dozens of
different statistics about the percentage of people
that move every year. These guesstimates have varied
from a low of 10 percent to a high of 25 percent.
When people move, your database takes a hit. So
let’s look at who moves and why.
Using the information provided by the U. S. Census
Bureau, let’s clear up the confusion and
misinformation. Out of a population of 282,556,000
people, 40,093,000 moved. That’s an overall
percentage of 14.19 percent annually.
These 40-plus-million people break down as follows:
23,468,000 moved within the same county,
7,728,000 moved to a different county within the
7,628,000 moved to a different state, and
1,269,000 moved to a different country.
The percentage of population that moves, when broken
down by age, varies considerably – from a low of
1.55 percent to a high of 17.84 percent. Not only
does the number of moves vary by age, so does the
distance of the move.
Around 4 percent of those over the age of 65 will
move to a new county, yet approximately 30 percent
of those aged 20-29 will move to a new county.
Because there are so many Americans, even a small
percentage represents a large quantity of people. If
you consider a move outside of the same county a
“long-distance” move – there are 17 million annual
long-distance moves, with over a million of these
moves outside the country.
The major new move activity takes place within the
18-34 year olds, with people in their 20s
representing the highest concentration. Once people
reach their 50s, their move rate is minimal. And in
people over the age of 70, the move percentages are
below 2 percent annually.
Couples with young children are the most likely to
move a long distance. As people get older, the
percentage who move decreases consistently. There
are two exceptions to this trend. When people reach
age 65, there is an increase in both the percentage
of moves, and distance of the move – this is likely
due to retirement. When people reach age 85-plus,
there is an increase in the percentage of moves, and
a decrease in the distance of the move. This is
possibly due to a move to an assisted living
There is also a difference between the sexes. In the
20-24 age group, 32 percent of females will move
each year, yet only 28 percent of males. By the age
of 30-34, the percentages are almost identical: 20.3
for females and 19.3 for males. By age 40 this
reverses, with 11.28 percent for females and 12.26
percent for males.
It is critical for a list owner to understand these
statistics. You can see how quickly a mailing list
becomes stale. Nearly 33 percent of the people who
move do not report their new address to the U.S.
Postal Service, the compiler of the National Change
of Address (NCOALink) file. Because of narrow
restrictions regarding the use of the NCOALink file, and
the unreported moves, that list updating process
probably catches only 50 percent of the new moves.
Some of the “new move” lists on the market combine
multiple sources and can be used to identify a
majority of new movers.
--- David Bancroft Avrick is president of Santa
Barbara, Calif.-based Avrick Direct Inc. His email
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