If you needed yet another reminder that the economy is struggling, the U.S. Census Bureau provided one in April. Only 35.2 million Americans changed residences between March 2007 and March 2008, the fewest number to move in one year since 1962. When you remember that the United States was home to 120 million fewer residents in the early 1960s, you begin to understand the significance of this trend.
But contrary to a New York Times headline, the slump did not create this lack of mobility for Americans. The mobility rate had been steadily decreasing for decades before it bottomed out at 11.9 percent in 2008. Several factors have contributed to this trend. Home ownership rates have been increasing since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking moves after World War II. With two spouses working in many households, relocating causes significant economic upheaval. And as the Boomer generation ages, they are less likely to pick up and settle in a new city.
At the Culture Making website, Andy Crouch and Nate Barksdale took notice of this significant cultural trend. Soliciting reader input, they wondered about the consequences, both positive and negative, of the fact that we are staying put longer than our parents, who stayed put longer than their parents. Like so many big-city residents, Crouch and Barksdale said they have actually seen considerable turnover in the coastal cities where they have lived as adults. Maybe fewer Americans in the rural Midwest or industrial Northeast are moving, but vibrant neighborhoods in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco still churn.
Stephen Um pastors in one such Boston neighborhood with CityLife Presbyterian Church. Visiting Chicago in April for the Gospel Coalition, Um spoke "On Ministry and Revolving ...1