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What Percentage of Americans Currently Live in the Town or City Where They Grew Up?

Have you ever wondered, “Do Americans live where they grew up?” In some regions, people stay in their hometowns after growing up. In big cities, you might find that it seems like everyone comes from somewhere else. The data shows how many people live in the same town or city where they grew up.


Why People Stay in Their Hometowns

People stay in their town or city for many different reasons. If your family is in one area, it’s only natural that you’d want to live nearby. Family members can give you support if you need last-minute childcare or have car trouble on your way to work. People with small children might stay near family to strengthen that sense of community and love.


Some people get excellent jobs in their city. They already know the area and having a promising start in their career is more secure than moving and trying to find a position elsewhere. 


Specific locations have low living costs, which is an excellent benefit for staying in one place. Moving is expensive when you add up the packing materials, truck, gas, and time off work to do it. When you add the moving expenses to the cost of living in the new location, you can spend several thousand dollars.


There’s also a sense of familiarity if you live in the same city where you grew up. You know your way around. You can stick to a routine and have an active social life without starting from scratch after a move.

The Demographics of Who Stays in Their Hometown

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It’s interesting to break down the data of “Do Americans live where they grew up?” The majority of men, 75%, stated that they still live in the same city. About 41% of men said they wanted to keep close to their family members, and 31% said it was because they felt comfortable where they were.


The results show that about 64% of women stay close to home. Statistically, up to 33% of women older than 45 care for their children and aging parents. Of that 64% of women, 53% affirmed that family was why they stayed.


For How Many Years Do Americans Live Close To Home?

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About 25% of the people polled have lived in their city for up to ten years. Close to 18% have lived in the same area for 11 to 20 years, while 21% have lived there for 21 to 30 years. Only 12% have lived in their hometown for 31 to 35 years, and the numbers keep dropping.


Reasons for Moving

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Over 32% of participants said they moved for work. That is the most common response, which makes sense because some cities are better for specific industries. A teacher might move to an area experiencing a teacher shortage. People who work in shipping might move to a place that’s a central production hub.


About 17.5% of people move to be closer to their family. They might have moved away for college or a job but want to return home. Many adults move back to their hometowns when they’re ready to start their own families. They might want to be near grandparents or have the chance to give their children a childhood similar to what they experienced.


When you separate the data by gender, you’ll see that only 36% of women moved away from their hometown. About 27% of those women say they moved for their career, and another 27% cite reasons such as:

  • Married and moved to his home state

  • Moved around for different jobs

  • Part of a military family

  • Wanted to find a safer area


Sometimes, women moved to a new area because their parents moved away, too. So while they’re not living in their hometown, these women still live close to family.


In the survey, 25% of men said they moved away from their hometown. The majority of men, 41%, said they left for their careers. Just under 20% said they moved for college or to live in their wife’s hometown.

When Do People Move?

Based on the data of how long people lived in their hometown and the reasons they gave for leaving, it’s clear there are two main times for significant moves. 


People either move to go away for college or move after college to start their careers. Adults who have moved away often come back in later years to be close to their parents as they start their own families.


These are common reasons for a move because they’re significant life landmarks. The data backs the idea that people leave home when they’re young to explore the world before finding their way back to settle down.


Though many families still move for work or lower living costs, the odds of an out-of-state move dramatically decrease once people have children. In the comments, many respondents mentioned the move was due to their careers or the military. Adults with families typically stay near family or in a familiar area when they have a choice.

The Bottom Line

Do Americans live where they grew up? At 68%, the majority polled answered yes, they live in or near the city where they grew up. People most often stay in the same town to be with their family, while those who move typically move for work. The data shows that these two reasons are the biggest factors in moving.


It’s interesting to compare the current data to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 study results. A few years ago, 75% of women stayed in their hometowns, compared to 68% of men. Those numbers have flipped, according to our 2022 survey.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,000 adults aged 25 and older. They all live in the United States. Questions involved where they grew up, where they live now, how long they’ve lived in each location, and why they stayed or moved. Participants could select fixed answers, such as family, job, cost of living, and familiarity, or write their reasons.

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