Young adult mobility in the U.S. is at its lowest in 50 years, in part because Millennials are moving less than earlier generations did when they were young.
One incentive for moving is to buy a home, but Census Bureau migration data suggest Millennial movers are doing so at significantly lower rates than earlier generations. In 2016, homeownership among younger households was at its lowest level in at least 40 years. On the one hand, the different family demographics of Millennials – such as not having children – may undercut their desire to own a home. But financial considerations may play a role as well. Compared with Gen X young adults around 2000, lending standards are much tighter, making it more difficult for Millennial 25- to 35-year-olds to get a mortgage. Related to this, student debt may be deterring young adults from home ownership.
According to the Census Bureau survey, in 2000 14% of Gen X movers said that their primary reason for moving was that they wanted to own a home, not rent. Just 6% of Millennial movers in 2016 were so motivated.