More Americans Are Deciding To Stay Put As Recession Hits Home

People in the U.S. are no longer flocking to the southern states to bask in the warm sunshine in the numbers that they used to before the housing crisis hits home, according to a new study. The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire found that the trend of migration from colder northern states to the sun-soaked south has tailed off dramatically in recent years, following an evaluation of data from a three-year period since the housing boom went bust.

US migration

Fewer Americans are heading to the sunshine as the recession mounts © Chad McDermott -

Greater numbers of U.S. citizens are choosing to stay where they are, either because they are unable to move, or they simply don’t want to. According to the New York Times, researchers blamed the decline in southern migration on struggling housing markets and high unemployment.

States including Arizona, Florida and Nevada, once incredibly popular with Americans looking to make a break from their lives, have seen fewer newcomers moving in since the recession first began.

On the other hand, states such as California, Massachusetts and New York, which had previously seen thousands of their inhabitants migrate away to Sun Belt states in recent years, were now seeing more residents deciding to stay put.

Kenneth M. Johnson of the Carsey Institute explained to the New York Times that moving simply becomes more difficult during tough financial times.

“People who might have left New York for North Carolina are staying put. But that is a very recent change, so that places that had been growing rapidly suddenly aren’t, and the outflow has really slowed down.”

The figures reflect exactly what he is saying. Florida, for example, gained over 209,000 extra residents at the peak of the housing bubble in 2005, but by 2009 had lost some 30,000 residents. Moreover, in New York, just 71,000 migrants left the state in 2009, compared with 170,000 migrants in 2005. California too, has seen its number of residents migrating away shrink, to just 71,000 in 2009 from a high of 201,000 migrants back in 2005.

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