Land Restrictions, Homeownership Subsidies Have Pushed Down Mobility Rates

February 3, 2017

Only 5 percent of homeowners moved in 2016, down from 9.5 percent in 1988, according to new data from the U.S. Census. Also, only 11 percent of all Americans moved last year, down from 20 percent in 1948, when mobility was a national ethos.

Richard Florida of CityLab explored the declining mobility rates. Several factors have influenced owners and renters to stay put, as Yale Law Professor David Schleicher laid out in a new study.

Homeowners benefit from subsidies, including the mortgage tax credit. Occupational licensing requirements makes it difficult for professionals licensed at the state level to relocate. Land restrictions and zoning laws have capped new construction and driven up home prices.

These mobility barriers are only likely to grow under a Trump administration, which has made elevating the status of declining industrial regions and their workers one of its policy priorities.

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