On Culture & Trends

The Mobility Myth–Reason, April 2006

Reason_1Here is a story debunking the mobility myth that I wrote for Reason magazine’s April 2006 issue. Many people believe that we live in "an increasingly mobile society", but the fact is, now more than ever, Americans are more likely to stay put.

What you don’t get in the article is the amusing contributor’s note, which may be my favorite to date: Alison Stein Wellner knew it wasn’t quite normal to move 13 times in 10 years, as she did the decade after she graduated from college. Still, she says, "I didn’t think we were off-trend"; she took it on faith that Americans today are increasingly footloose. It wasn’t until she looked at the data that she realized such serial relocation was more typical of her grandparent’s generation than of her own. In "The Mobility Myth", Wellner tears apart the notion that we’re a nation of rootless wanderers. A former editor at American Demographics, Wellner has written on culture and trends for Mother Jones, The Washington Post and many other publications. She lives in Manhattan, for the moment.


Here’s one funny fact that this note didn’t include. Not only did I grow up in Manhattan, but I actually now live in the apartment that I grew up in. (Not with my parents, I might add.) Talk about coming full circle! Rest assured: I no longer have any illusion of being on-trend.

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