Behavior: The Immobile Society

Is America settling down in middle age?

Alexis de Tocqueville was struck by the phenomenon during his nine-month visit to America in 1831. In the U.S., he wrote, a man "settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves to carry his changeable longings elsewhere." In the intervening years, Americans have lived up to their reputation as the most mobile people in the world, tearing up roots and moving—across the nation or across town—at the slightest prospect of a better life. The average American family changes its residence every five or six years, much...

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