The pattern of Americans moving less than a decade ago mirrors moving trends seen with new college graduates. According to an analysis of government data by two higher education professors, “10.4% of 22 to 24-year-olds with a college degree moved to another state in 2015, compared to 12.7% in 2005.”
In general, census reports say just 10 percent of Americans moved in the past year. This number is a drastic decrease to back in the 1940s when that number was up around 20 percent. Americans today are less likely than their parents and grandparents to move. It used to be that job opportunities would entice people into moving across state lines, but this is not the case anymore. Economists have hypothesized that housing costs and licensing requirements may be making it more difficult for Americans to move. In terms of young college graduates, the majority of students attend college in their state instead of moving away for college. This lack of mobility also signals that more and more graduates are staying put after they receive their degree. This is due to a number of reasons:
The first is that more and more young adults are living with their parents than in previous generations because of financial struggles.
A large portion of this financial burden comes with student loan payments. According to CNBC, “students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3,190 in tuition for the 1987-1988 school year, with prices adjusted to reflect 2017 dollars. Thirty years later, that average has risen to $9,970 for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s a 213 percent increase.” In general, students graduate with around $29,000 in debt. This financial burden is a big indication of why more and more graduates are living with their parents and trying to pay off their loans instead of moving away.
Another factor that drives graduates to stay put is the challenge to find a job upon graduation.
According to Forbes, “the millennial unemployment rate stands at an unfortunate 12.8 percent, compared to the national average of 4.9 percent.” Many experts attribute this to misplaced education, a lack of experience and increased competition. This lack of employment coupled with increased debt makes it clear why young graduates are not moving after college.
Another factor is that high housing costs are discouraging millennials from moving.
In a recent Washington Post article, they referenced a survey saying 34 percent of people in the 18-to-34-year-old age group indicated homeownership is not on the table for them for reasons such as “not wanting to carry as much debt and avoiding home maintenance responsibilities.” Consumers in this survey also cited that there are too few homes on the market and that homes are too costly, as a lot of millennials are struggling with debt.
The last reason that recent graduates cite for staying put is the tug of family and connections.
According to an Upshot analysis of adult Americans, the typical adult lives only 18 miles from his or her mother. This data reveals a country of close-knit families, with members of multiple generations leaning on one another for financial and practical support. This familial pull is another reason fewer graduates are packing up and moving after graduation.