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Mobile Americans

A recent study suggested that America is one of the most geographically mobile countries in the world, with approximately one in four U.S. adults moving domestically in the past five years. According to the study, America boasts 24% of internal migrants, whereas the European Union and Europe (other) make up just 15% together. But why do Americans move so much more than their European counterparts?

Here at Santa Fe Relocation, we’re taking a closer look.

U.S. labour laws influence on geographic mobility

The United States is a vast country, with a common tongue further helping to improve the efficiency of the country’s labour market. As a result of this, many U.S workers are enticed to move to different regions which boast steady job growth and, in many cases, to employers who can capitalise on labour laws. According to the World Bank in 2012, labour mobility is much higher in the U.S. than in any other county, and the U.S. policy environment remains flexible in order to support labour mobility. On average, Americans are deemed to move 11 times in their life.

In Europe, however, despite free movement of labour being a key part of the EU policy agenda, many challenges are faced when it comes to cross-country relocation. With many European countries hosting their own native language, internal mobility is restricted by cross border language barriers, as well as an ability to match labour supply with demand. In order to improve this, the Europe 2020 strategy is set to facilitate improvements in intra-EU labour mobility which could see geographic mobility in the continent improve.

Are American cities different to European cities?

Urban geographical differences between America and Europe could be a significant contributing factor as to why Americans tend to move more than Europeans. The population density of key European cities such as London and Paris are much higher than some American cities, with New York appearing to be more comparable to Lyon in France. Much of this is to do with the history of the two countries. Cities such as Paris were developed at a time when trains and cars were not available to transport citizens to and from the centre, and as a result, the population would settle within a short commute of key districts leaving little need for modern domestic movement. Whereas many major American cities were founded at a later date, when travel was more readily available, leading to a greater need to move for work in more recent years.

Views of individualism & the state

American opinions still differ from those of Western Europeans when it comes to the views of individualism and the state. In fact, 58% of Americans believe it’s more important for everyone to pursue their life goals without interference from the state and maintain their individualistic views when it comes to determining their own fate. Despite this, American opinions regarding the role of the state do significantly vary across age groups, with half of those under the age of 30 choosing to prioritise freedom. This concept of freedom could be a major factor in determining the reasons why Americans move more than Europeans. Statistics show just 38% of British citizens, 36% of Germans, 36% of French and 30% of Spanish agree with achieving life goals over having the state play an active role in society.

Whether you’re moving locally or internationally, we’re here to help ensure your big move remains on track. If you would like to find out more information about our corporate service, get in touch with a member of our expert team, today.

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