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Millennials’ Measured Mobility

A number of factors are holding people in place.

More young people are taking care of their parents and grandparents, sometime putting their lives and careers on hold.

Our society is becoming less mobile for a variety of reasons. One is that an aging population naturally tends to relocate less even if potentially better paying jobs exist elsewhere. Why? First, since 2008, a large chunk of the population couldn’t move: their homes were underwater mortgage-wise and they couldn’t sell. Second, dual income families are an increasing share of the U.S. population; according to the Pew Research Center, that figure is about 60 percent. In 1960, it was just 25 percent. If one spouse loses a job or gets a better one, their ability to move is often hindered by the other spouse’s job.

Third is what The Wall Street Journal brought up: caring for elder parents. Millennials make up 24 percent of the nation’s care providers, up from 22 percent in 2009, and you can be sure that baby boomers are increasingly doing the same for their even older parents, and in greater numbers.

To wit, there is a cost. All the above extract from mobility and the chance to move for a higher paying job maybe means that people go for more free or flexible time at the expense of income—or no jobs at all. The article points out that for millennials (6.2 million of whom are caregivers), such caregiving can postpone homeownership and starting families, and they spend a good portion of their income on the caregiving, which takes a toll on discretionary spending.

David Ader is Chief Macro Strategist for Informa Financial Intelligence.

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