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Who Moves - Where and Why

Recent government reports provide a great deal of insight into the mobility of Americans. People move for many reasons: a new job, a change in marital status or family size, or a change in economic status.

For years major mailers have utilized ‘new move’ names for their direct mail programs … because new move lists work best in acquiring new customers and building a business. This new detailed analysis will help marketers understand the nature of the new move family, and possibly to identify segments of this huge universe of names that they can profitably mail to.

43 million people or 16% of the population moved last year according to the latest government statistics. That’s pretty much what the average has been over the past decade. During the 50s and 60s the percentage was 20%. New move lists, currently on the market, usually offer between 1 million and 2.5 million new move names a year.

43% of these movers stayed within the same county. 20% changed counties, but stayed within the same state. 19% changed states, and 4% moved into the United States from another country. If a mailer can’t make “all” new move names work, it’s very possible that they can profitably mail to the segment of the list that didn’t just move next door or around the corner.

The younger you are, the more mobile you are. People between the ages of 20 and 29 moved at twice the annual rate, while only 4% of people 65 to 84 moved. The actual data is:

Who Moves – Where and Why by David Bancroft Avrick

Moving Rates by Age ~ this is the percentage of people within each age range that will move each year

1-4...23.3% 5-9...18.1% 10-19...15.3% 20-24...35.4% 25-29...32.4% 30- 34 ...22.0% 35-44...14.8% 45-54...9.3% 55-64...7.0% 65-84...4.3% 85+...4.7%

So if you’re selling a music club, or singles vacations, you should try age selections on the new move list. Conversely, if you’re selling to people 50+ you must age select, since only a small segment of the list will be in your age category.

Singles and divorced people moved more frequently than married folks. But widows are the least likely to move. 22.9% of never-married people moved, 12.0% of marrieds, 20.5% of divorced or separated and 6.9% of widowed people. This data reveals many exciting marketing opportunities. For example, since widows have a very low rate of moving, they’re prime prospects for products like security systems and lawn care.

Ethnicity is also important in determining the percentage of moves. White, non-Hispanics, had the lowest moving rate – 14%. Blacks moved at 19% while Hispanics moved at a 20% rate.

Moving amongst renters is very high, with 33% of them moving each year, versus 1-in-11 people living in owner-occupied dwellings making a move. Obviously this has major marketing implications. If you want to reach renters, for example if you’re selling renters insurance, this is a great way to do so. Conversely, if you’re market is primarily homeowners you must suppress the renter names, because so many renters are on the new move file.

People living in lower income neighborhoods are more likely to move. 21% of those people living in households with incomes less than $25,000 moved. This is almost double the 12% move rate from those people earning $100,000 or more. This shows the importance of doing income selections or suppressions when you select a new move list.

Different regions have different population growth statistics. More people moved out of the Northeast than moved into it. The South showed the largest gain. Of the 1.7 million people who moved into the United States from abroad, almost 1.2 million moved into the South and West.

The majority of people move to better themselves. About 10% moved out of a rented home and into a home they own. About 5% moved into cheaper housing.

About 26% make the move for family related reasons. Setting up a new household (7%) and changing marital status (6%) were the main reasons. 16% of people moved because of work related reasons…..some for a new job, others to simply make their commutes easier.

Not surprising work related issues were most important for those people making long-distance moves. However, the more education the person is, the more likely that their move will be work related. When it comes to moves motivated by work, this represents only 6% of the intra-county moves, 31% of the inter-county moves and more than 65% of the long distance moves. Mailing to people who have moved a long distance is a natural of self-improvement, and seminar offers.

The reasons people move are: Family related (26.3%), work related (16.2%), housing related (51.6%) and miscellaneous (6%). Miscellaneous includes moving to attend, or leaving college, for a change in climate and health reasons.

Clearly the distance a person moves is directly related to their reason for moving. Longer distance moves are more likely to be job related, while shorter distance moves are more likely to be associated with housing related issues. Lower income and lower education groups are more likely to move for family reasons while higher educated and higher income people are more likely to move for work related issues.