Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Are we ceasing to be a mobile culture?

Mobility is key to being an American.

Our ancestors, for most of us anyhow, traveled across the ocean to find a new home. And then, they took wagons and trains across the country at the heed of Greeley to “Go West.” Mobility is so ingrained in our genetics that we have to stay on the move or we feel dead.

We learn to drive before we learn to drink. We learn to drive at a young age because it allows us to more easily begin work. We Americans have a crazy, innovative, on-the-go feeling that we must always keep moving. When teenagers reach a certain age, parents kick them out into the world to fend for themselves.

We hate hospitals because they won’t let us get out of bed or even leave without begin constrained to a wheel chair. But, we love doctors and nurses because they mend us so that we can, once more, be mobile. When our elders lose the ability to drive, they often fade away into death. We need our mobility in order to live.

BUT, the Current Population Survey found that fewer than 12% of Americans have moved since 2007, a decline of nearly a full percentage point compared with the year before. In the 1950s and ’60s, the number of movers was close to 20%. It has been declining steadily: 12% is the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began counting people who move, in 1940.
[NYTIMES.COM | 12.20.08 via Iconowatch]

Are we ceasing to be so mobile?

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