America’s construction industry owes its living in part to this nation’s itchy feet. Roughly 36.5 million people aged at least 1 year old pulled up stakes in the 2011-12 measuring period, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. While higher than the previous year, it’s still several million people below the average for this decade. And judging by the reasons people gave in Census surveys for why they moved, the weak economy is playing a bigger role than it did a dozen years earlier in determining why people resettle. Note also that the current rate of moving—12%—trails far behind the 20% move rate that was common during the 1960s. Because of that higher rate, as many people were moving then as now, even though America had one-third fewer residents.

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