Moving on Down

The myth of the “American Dream” tells us that if we work hard and take care of our expenses we can afford to own our homes. We might begin with a “starter house” when we are younger and then move up to a larger house as our income and our family grows.

This story was never true for everyone any more than it makes sense for everyone, but evidence from the US2010 Project shows that

The Great Recession forced more people to move locally. People moved the most
in metropolitan areas with the highest unemployment, the highest foreclosures –
particularly the West and South, areas hard hit by the Great Recession. People
who lost their jobs and/or their homes moved locally, to someplace cheaper.
Unlike the past decades, when local movers were moving up economically – from
an apartment to a house, from one house to a better one – these movers were
moving down economically, seeking a cheaper home. 

Michael A. Stoll, Department of Public Policy and Luskin School of Public Affairs UCLA

Housing Market and Economic Shocks and Domestic Migration over 2000 Period

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