(October 2000) In the United States, the romantic image of a footloose nation of wanderers, willing to pack up and move across the country to their “dream location” is far from reality. Most moves are local — across town or into the next county — and are motivated by fairly practical considerations, such as leaving the family home, going to college, relocating from a rented apartment to an owned home or condo, or making room for expected children. Without these motivations, a person is likely to stay put and settle down.

Indeed, “getting married and settling down” is more than just an adage. Married people in the U.S. are about half as likely to move than those who are single or divorced. Only widows and widowers, who are usually ages 65 and older, move less. Among married couples, those with husband and wife both in the labor force are slightly more likely to move than those in other situations.


U.S. Census Bureau’s 1986–1999 March Current Population Survey (CPS).