By Emily Badger
The decision to move is an intensely personal and revealing one. We move homes because we lost a job or found a new one, because a new child was born or an older one finally left for college. We move because we have to, following a foreclosure, or because we can afford to, in search of a nicer place.
So many of life’s milestones — good or bad, qualifying for a first mortgage, surviving a hurricane — are accompanied by a moving van. In the aggregate, this means that we can add up all of the reasons why Americans move in a given year and glean something about what’s going on in their lives, and even, by extension, the economy.
Take the the 35.9 million people who moved between 2012 and 2013, according to the Census Bureau — either just down the block, into a new county or much farther away. Data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey reveals that, among their householders, 8.4 percent moved last year in search of cheaper housing. According to the data, 1.8 percent moved because of a foreclosure or eviction. Asked to pick the one reason that most contributed to their decision to move, 1.6 percent said they moved to look for work or because they lost a job.
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