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Long-distance moves fall to record lows in U.S.

Americans are shunning long-distance moves at record levels as many young adults, struggling without jobs, opt to stay put rather than relocate to other parts of the United States.

The new information from the Census Bureau highlights the extreme pressure that the sluggish economy is putting on people in this country, especially those in some of the hardest-hit groups.

"It is truly a Great Depression for young adults," said Andrew M. Sum, an economics professor and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. "Young adults are working at lower rates than they ever worked before since World War II. As a result, you would expect migration to fall because they have nowhere to go to."

The share of longer-distance moves across states fell to roughly 4.3 million people, or 1.4 percent, down from 1.6 percent in 2009. It was the lowest level since the government began tracking movers in 1948.

Among adults ages 25 to 29, about 3.2 percent moved to a new state last year, down from 3.7 percent. Moving rates for college graduates, who have been more likely to relocate out of state, remained flat at a low of 2.1 percent. Moves by those lacking a college degree dipped slightly.

In general, the levels of people moving in the United States have been gradually declining for decades, more recently due to an aging baby boomer population that is less mobile. But the rate had leveled off at about 13 to 14 percent before dropping sharply in 2008 due to the recession.

Three cities in Texas -- Austin, Dallas and Houston -- ranked in the top five of metro areas with the greatest inflow of college graduates in 2007-09.

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