The Census Bureau is out with a new report showing that Americans are staying put a little longer than they have in the past.
The report, Geographical Mobility, shows that from March 1997 to March 1998 - the last dates for which numbers are available - some 42.5 million Americans changed residences. That number was down from the year before, when some 43.4 million people changed homes.
More significantly, the bureau says, is that the numbers continue to reflect a decade-long trend that a smaller percentage of the population is in motion every year.
The study showed that about 16 percent of residents moved during the 1997-98. The year before the percent of movement was 16.5. In the 1992-93 interval, the percent of Americans in motion was 17.3.
The bureau said that represents a decline of about 4 percent, however, from typical relocation in the '50s and '60s.
The bureau suggests one of the prime reasons for the general decline is that Baby Boomers have by-and-large settled into homes.
As always, the survey found the population age range between 20 and 24 to be most active with movers, with 34.2 percent of all members in that demographic changing residences. The next highest category was the 25-29 age range, where 31.0 percent moved during the year.
In the 45 to 54 range, only 7.1 percent changed residences, and in the 55-64 range, the amount of movement was about 6.6 percent.
The Census Bureau studies American mobility in an effort to determine where government services and other facilities, such as hospitals and schools, are needed. The data also is used by private industry to help it locate sources of labor and plan for expansion.
According to the bureau, some 27.1 million (63.7 percent) of those moving in 97-98 moved to a residence in the same county. About 8 million stayed in the same state and only about 6.3 million moved to a different state.
The Census report also found the rate of moving depended significantly on the race of the family.
It found that only about 14.5 percent of the white American population moved in the 97-98 time frame compared to 18.9 percent of the African American population and 21.2 percent of the Hispanic population. The bureau attributed part of that movement to the fact that the white population tends to be older and more settled than either the black or Hispanic populations.
The median age of the least mobile group, whites, was 36.7 years old. The median age for African Americans was 29.6 and the median age of Hispanic movers was 26.
Despite the movement, the bureau said populations in metropolitan areas stayed about the same - suggesting there were as many outbound movers as there were inbound movers.