Happy New Year's Eve! I'd like to thank you all for joining this growing community over the past six months. I'm grateful for the feedback and ideas you've passed along to me, and I look forward to the conversations in 2020.
Fewer than 10% of Americans moved to new places in the 2018–2019 year, the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began tracking domestic relocations in 1947.
Why it matters: Despite a strong economy, more people are feeling locked in place. Young adults, who have historically been the most mobile, are staying put thanks to housing and job limitations. So are aging adults who are reluctant to (or can't afford to) make a move.
By the numbers: The share of Americans who moved in the past year is about half of the amount in the 1950s, when about one-fifth of the population moved each year. That number is now 9.8%, the first time it's dipped below 10%.
What they're saying: "There's been this long-term decline in mobility going back to the 1950s, as the population got older and as more people owned houses in the '60s and '70s and didn't move," said demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution. "But the continued decline since the Great Recession and the housing crunch is driven by the millennial population."
The big picture: Decades ago, job markets were more interchangeable and diverse, so it was easier for people with most occupations, from factory workers to bankers, to find jobs in a variety of places that were relatively affordable. Now, though, industries are clustered in specific regions, middle-class jobs have declined, and housing prices are rising in many prosperous areas.
Between the lines: The fact that far fewer people are moving to new counties or states could be a bad sign for economic mobility, per research by the McKinsey Global Institute.
What to watch: It's also a bad sign for smaller cities and rural areas that are already having trouble attracting new residents. Stagnating areas are likely to stay stagnant if people feel stuck in place.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The rise of dual-career couples has contributed to lower mobility rates between cities and has made it harder to recruit workers to smaller job markets.
Why it matters: Moving to a different town for a job opportunity was more common when most households had one primary earner. Now that the majority of households rely on two incomes, relocating requires finding two good jobs instead of one.
More than 60% of all U.S. households have two working parents, according to Pew Research Center. White-collar workers are more likely to be part of households where both partners work full time.
Where it stands: 50 years ago, the main requirement for relocating was a stable job for the family breadwinner.
Between the lines: Smaller markets with fewer options are finding it hard to lure candidates. "When you try to recruit people from outside the area, you have to have employment for spouses," said Barry Tippin, city manager for Redding, California.
Most American workers place affordability above jobs on the priority list when determining where to live, according to Prudential's Pulse of the American Worker survey conducted in November by Morning Consult.
Why it matters: The high cost of living in job-rich centers holds people back from looking for new opportunities there.
Nearly half of those surveyed said affordability and proximity to family and friends were the most important factors, while only 15% listed job opportunities as a primary reason. (Note: The survey has a 3% margin of error.)
Blue-collar and hourly wage workers tend to have deep networks of friends and families that tie them to a particular community and keep them from leaving, even if higher-paying opportunities are elsewhere.
Occupational licensing requirements can also discourage crossing state borders, Kinder noted.
What to watch: The cities projected to have the fastest-growing populations over the next five years include Austin, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Orlando and Charlotte, per an analysis by the Urban Land Institute.
Despite a robust economy and low unemployment, household income hasn't changed much in the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, large numbers of Americans are paying significant portions of their income on rent as housing costs have outpaced growth in wages.
What to watch: Annual median home prices are expected to increase by 3.6% in 2020 and by 3.5% in 2021, according to a National Association of Realtors forecast.
The bottom line: “Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,” said Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist, in a release.
Children hold red lanterns to welcome the new year in Rugao City, Jiangsu Province, China, on Dec. 30, 2019. Photo: Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images.
China now has 130 cities of at least 1 million people — more than the U.S. (45), European Union (36) and South America (46) combined.
Go deeper: Global cities are booming
The decade of the very poor and the super rich☝️(Axios)
'Advertising breaks your spirit': The French cities trying to ban public adverts (The Guardian)
Miami leads in keeping kids out of jail, but much of Florida fails (Miami Herald)
High schoolers step up to help run the Twin Cities (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
How the on-demand economy reshaped cities (CityLab)
Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images.
The Federal Aviation Administration wants to require the vast majority of drones to broadcast identifying and location information so authorities can spot rogue drones and generally keep tabs on the rest.
Why it matters: Drone makers have been waiting on the FAA to propose the Remote ID regulation to ease security concerns about potentially hostile drone operators that could, for example, wreak havoc at an airport — similar to the incident that shut down the U.K.'s Gatwick Airport last year.
Between the lines: The drone industry hopes a workable Remote ID standard will make the FAA comfortable with allowing operators to fly drones beyond their line of sight and over people — allowances necessary to enable package delivery and other commercial uses.
Details: The draft rule, which is expected to be published in the Federal Register today, will apply to all recreational and commercial drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds. The public can comment on the proposed rule for 60 days.
Go deeper: The drone nightmare is here
Hope you have a great start to 2020! I'll be off next week, so Axios Cities will be back in your inbox Jan. 15.