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Census 2000 Brief: Geographical Mobility: 1995 to 2000

Report Number C2KBR-28
Bonny Berkner and Carol S. Faber

In 2000, 262 million people aged 5 and older resided in the United States. Of this population, 120 million (46 percent) lived in a different home in 2000 than they did in 1995: 35 percent lived in a different home in the same state, 8 percent lived in a different state, and 3 percent had moved from abroad. This report, part of a series that presents population and housing data collected by Census 2000, highlights data on the geographical mobility of people 5 and older; more specifically, it focuses on “movers”; that is, people who lived in a different home in 2000 than they did in 1995.1

The geographical mobility data are derived from the Census 2000 long-form question on residence 5 years ago. A similar question on previous residence has been asked on each census since 1940, except the 1950 census, which asked for residence 1 year ago. Since the Census 2000 question covered a 5-year period, it was asked only of people 5 and older. The question has always included several parts, such as whether the respondent lived in the same home at the earlier date and, if not, where he or she lived previously. Information collected from those who moved includes the name of the previous city, town, or post office; ZIP Code; county; and U.S. State, U.S. territory, or foreign country (Figure 1).

This report provides an overview of moving behavior in the United States2 between 1995 and 2000, including how many people moved and the kinds of moves they made. Moves are classified by whether they occurred within the same county, from a different county in the same state, from a different state by region, or from abroad.3 Data by race and Hispanic origin show differences among these groups in both the rate of moving and the types of moves. The brief looks at the number of people who moved from one region to another and compares the number and types of moves reported in Census 2000 with those from the 1990 census. Information for each state highlights those with low mobility rates as well as those that attracted migrants from other regions and from abroad. In addition, this brief looks at the population by state of residence in 2000 by place of birth.

1 People who did not move during the 5-year period between 1995 and 2000 as well as those who had moved but by 2000 had returned to their 1995 residence are defined as nonmovers. Movers may have moved more than once during the 5-year period.

2 The text of this report discusses data for the United States, including the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Data for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are shown in Table 4, Figure 3, and Table 6, and Figure 4.

3 Although moves within a county, between counties, and even between states can be of overlapping distances, in this brief, the types of moves are treated as forming a distance continuum. Within-county moves in general are assumed to be the shortest, followed by moves to a different county in the same state, moves to a different state, and those from abroad.


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