What’s the latest lifestyle trend in North America? People are living in the same town – even the same house - a lot longer than they used to. In fact, fewer families are relocating than at any time since 1962. According to Newsweek magazine, three decades ago, 20% of the population moved every year, and a lot of them moved long distances. Last year, half that many people moved. What’s going on here? For generations, changing locations literally meant moving up in the world, because people had gotten a raise or a better job, and were moving to a bigger house or nicer neighborhood. Or young adults were moving out on their own – which meant the parents also moved to a retirement location.
Things have changed. These days, family trumps money when people are deciding where to live. More and more people are staying close to home – and close to their families. Because of the economy, young people are less likely to be able to afford their own homes, and family members are more likely to move in with each other to make ends meet. The business side has changed, too. More and more workers are telecommuting, which means, they don’t have to move closer to work. Fewer executives are willing to move – even for a good promotion. With the crashing economy, even people who wanted to move have found it impossible to sell their houses. Also, retirees are less likely to buy a condo in the sun, because they’d rather stay close to family and friends and familiar surroundings.
All this is actually a good thing. Studies show that the longer people stay in their homes and communities, the more they identify with those places, and it helps boost the local economy. For example, people who enjoy their neighborhoods are more likely to eat at local restaurants, and shop in mom-and-pop stores. They’re also more likely to attend local fairs and festivals, and join community service clubs and bowling leagues. Also, weekly local newspapers are surviving the economic downturn much better than daily, big-city papers. Also, when people hear news about their neighbors in those local papers, they feel even more like they belong – and they’re even less likely to move away.