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Big jump in young adults moving out of state

By Hope Yen

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:15 a.m. HST, Oct 25, 2012

WASHINGTON » Their lives on hold for years, young adults are now making big moves in the fledgling economic recovery, leaving college towns or parents' homes and heading out of state at the highest rate since the height of the housing boom.

New census data released today offer a detailed look at U.S. migration as mobility begins to revive after sliding to a record low last year.

The latest numbers show that young adults 25-29 are the primary out-of-state movers; they had the biggest gain in 13 years as they struck out on their own to test the job market in urban, high-tech meccas such as Washington, D.C.; Denver; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Austin, Texas.

In contrast, groups that showed some of the most movement in the housing boom of the last decade (2000-2010) — working professionals, families and would-be retirees — are still mostly locked in place, their out-of-state migration levels stuck at near lows due to underwater mortgages and shrunken retirement portfolios.

The demographic shifts, which analysts say could continue for many more years, are once again rejiggering the housing map.

Out are the super-sized McMansions in far-flung suburbs and in the sprawling Southwest, which helped drive rapid metro area growth in the early to middle part of the last decade in places such as Phoenix; Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; and Atlanta. In are new, 300 square-foot "micro" apartments under consideration for wider development in dense cities such as New York, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle, which are seeking to attract young single adults who value affordable spaces in prime locations to call their own.

"Footloose young singles are forming the leading edge of the coming migration wave," said William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer who reviewed the numbers. He attributed the recent jump in mobility to pent-up demand among young adults who now are ready to "move on a dime" to land a job opportunity.

"We will see their migration rates swell even higher if the jobs become more plentiful," Frey said. "Families, older professionals and retirees will be latecomers; they have more financial baggage and will need to make more careful decisions about when and where to move."

Richard Florida, an American urban theorist and professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, called the mobility gain an important sign the U.S. economy is getting back on track.

"Young people are moving out of their parents' basements and sampling places and sampling careers again," he said. "After living at home for a while, young people have kind of maxed it out. They are heading to bigger, vibrant cities, predominantly, because they're looking for economic opportunity and building their social networks."

About 1.7 percent of the U.S. population moved across state lines to a new home in the 12-month period ending March 2012, up slightly from 1.6 percent in the previous year.

The share of young adults ages 25-29 who moved to a new state was higher, about 3.8 percent. That's up from 3.4 percent in the previous year and the highest level since the height of the housing boom in 2005, when mobility was 5 percent. The 0.4 percentage point increase in 2012 is also the biggest jump for young adults since 1999, when the rapid rise of Internet startups and the need for young workers during the dot-com bubble drove migration.

Moving rates for college graduates of all ages remained mostly flat at 2 percent.

Among Americans 55 and older, out-of-state moves dipped from the previous year to a low of 0.7 percent. At the height of the housing boom, interstate migration for this group reached well over 1 percent, due mostly to baby boomers opting to retire early to residential hot spots in the South and West.

According to the latest data, some of the biggest winners in recent years have been states such as California, Massachusetts and New York. The states were able to reduce much of the annual losses they suffered in domestic migration during the housing boom, when residents left in mass numbers for wider, more affordable spaces in the Sun Belt and Mountain West. The bigger states also continue to gain relatively more people from higher immigration and births.

Broken down by age and metro area, the Washington, D.C., area ranked at the top of destinations for young adults in the 2009-2011 period, rocketing up from 45th in 2006-2008. The area has been boosted by its promise of more plentiful government-related jobs, as well as a continuing influx of students attending area universities and its up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Texas metro areas including Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, which already were on the rise before the recession hit in late 2007, have remained a strong draw for young adults due to in large part to their thriving energy and high-tech industries. They ranked second, fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively, in terms of youth migration.

Denver and Portland, Ore., rounded out the top five at No. 3 and No. 4.

Separate census data released earlier this year showed that most of America's largest cities were growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs for the first time in a century, driven mostly by young adults. That also has prompted city planners to devise ways to attract young adults, who generally desire no-strings-attached apartment living and close proximity to potential jobs.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in July invited architects to design an apartment building of "micro-units" no more than 300 square feet. The city envisions a future in which the young and the cash-poor will flock to these dwellings, having grown weary of "doubling up" with friends or family in the economic downturn.

In San Francisco, developers are seeking permission to rent out apartments as small as 220 square feet, a little more than twice the size of some prison cells.

Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire, said it's hard to predict how much migration ultimately will pick up given the uncertainty in the economy. He said the people making the biggest moves in the coming years likely will be those who feel they must: young adults in search of jobs, couples with small children seeking better schools, new retirees desiring high-amenity recreational living.

"I suspect the recession has sobered the American population about migration," Johnson said.

The census findings are based on the Current Population Survey as of March 2012, as well as comparisons of the 2006-2008 and the 2009-2011 American Community Survey to provide a snapshot of every U.S. community with at least 20,000 residents. Figures from the 2011 American Community Survey also are used to establish broader trends.

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false wrote:
Hey, I been telling you all forever. When Hawaii ranks 50th, dead last, as a place to make a living what can we expect. So, let's stop breaking our arm to pat ourselves on the back for lower unemployment. - realize we are getting there by forcing our best and brightest young folks to leave for the mainland. As we are #1 for retirement we get old, non working folks in return. Bad trade. Now, why? One party UNION dominated politics featuring high taxes, excessive regulation, and closed shops. On top of that, unless you are rich, the public schools has too many bad teachers, so parents who care, move.
on October 25,2012 | 06:09AM
allie wrote:
True. No jobs here. Almost everyone I know at UH is leaving after graduation. No politicalor economic leadership here. Might be a great state to retire to for millionaires.
on October 25,2012 | 06:45AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
@ allie, big jump from your previous statement that ALL UH grads are leaving. No job for you, you know that. My son grads from UH in May. He's interning now @ $3K monthly, has a few interviews for major firms with local ties. Yup, unlike you, he has local ties, so he intends to stay. $55K starting pay plus bonuses locked in before graduation is a good wage. Choose your career well, It beats working in a pizza shop with a college degree. Here's a few not-so-big secrets in life. Time management, $$ management and be happy with what you have. Not a millionaire here, but life for me is maikai noa!
on October 25,2012 | 09:04AM
allie wrote:
wow..impressive. Yes, I agree that local ties are importaNT I am a North Dakota female. I do love the uH and there are many good people up here. I just wish we had better administrators!
on October 25,2012 | 10:30AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
@ false, can you cite the dead-last ranking article. No offense meant, I want to read it.
on October 25,2012 | 08:51AM
serious wrote:
RetiredWorking: you can Google it, several articles. Hawaii: worst traffic, worst for doing business, highest housing cost, one of the worst universities. Worst Governor, most Democratic biased legislature. But, yes, best for retired millionaires.
on October 25,2012 | 09:51AM
false wrote:
Money-rates.com, the same site the Star Adv cited about Hawaii being #1 for retirement, guess they didn't like publicizing that Hawaii is also #50 for a place to make a living
on October 25,2012 | 05:17PM
Biggy2011 wrote:
Amen False that is very true! Seriously how can we keep blaming the young people? It is so expensive here and we keep increasing the taxes. The cost of home ownership is sky rocketing. The quality jobs are going down. The only thing to keep the young here is the weather and family.
on October 25,2012 | 06:28AM
kennie1933 wrote:
On the other end of the spectrum, those of us close to retirement have to think about whether to stay in Hawaii or not. If you are on a fixed income, already high prices are only going to go higher. If you paid off your house, you can sell it at market value and move to the mainland, purchase another house, and have leftover! In many parts of the mainland, you can purchase really nice homes for less than $200,000, and the overall cost of living is much lower. Of course, there are other things to consider: extreme cold, extreme heat, different food, friends and relatives far away....but if you're OK with that, it's something to consider.
on October 25,2012 | 08:29AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
I found this very interesting to read: http://www.hawaiibusiness.com/pdfs/2011QOL.pdf
on October 25,2012 | 09:38AM
HD36 wrote:
Washington DC isn't a high tech state. It's the mecca for government workers. It has the best real estate market in the nation. They keep voting themselve's raises and leeching off the tax payer.
on October 25,2012 | 07:54PM
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