Unwilling to move for better jobs?

by laurafrombaltimore

This article discusses Americans’ apparent decreased willingness to move for better economic opportunities.

Fewer Americans Strike Out for New Jobs, Crimping the Recovery

I’m not sure I really follow some of the arguments here. E.g., they point out that workers are not moving out of entry-level and temporary jobs at the same rate, but they characterize those short-term employment opportunities as “road-testing” by young workers; thus, they seem to assume that the change represents an intentional decision by these workers to be less adventurous and more risk-averse, when it seems that the far likelier explanation is that those workers have just not been able to find better jobs to move on to.

They also, IMO, give short shrift to the increase in two-earner families, and most specifically on the economic reliance of so many families on earning two paychecks. Their note that “the addition of career-minded women into the work force” might make it harder to move is buried in a list of many possible explanations. I haven’t found a definitive study, one site suggests that two-income families have increased from about 40% of married couple families in 1980 to about 60% today.

Working Family Values Factoids

The Department of Labor points out that much of this increase is comes in the higher-income quintiles (which is logical, as poor women generally didn’t have the choice to “opt out” of work and so had higher historic labor force participation to begin with).  (Scroll down to II.)

futurework Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century

And, of course, those higher-income jobs are likely the ones that are more likely to be specialized and more difficult to replace. Meaning, in sum, that there are more families relying on two jobs, and more of those families have jobs where it will be more difficult to find two comparable jobs somewhere else in the country.

What do you think? Is decreased mobility a problem? If so, what do you think are the root causes?

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64 thoughts on “Unwilling to move for better jobs?

  1. Well lots of people are moving to Seattle for jobs. There are two main categories (outside of students coming for college/grad school). People moving here for well-paying jobs (generally technology). Or people who may or may not have a job lined up but have heard there’s a booming economy, arrive, and find that housing is far more expensive than they anticipated, they didn’t have enough of a financial cushion to deal with unexpected expenses (e.g. car breaking down), and end up having a very difficult transition (sometimes becoming homeless in the process).

  2. We, too, have had a huge influx of new people in Houston. I think Houston is a great place to be, due to the low COL combined with a ton of middle class jobs. That said, traffic is getting worse and property values are rising due to all the new people. DH and I complain to each other about this regularly.

    I’m not sure that moving for a job is a good thing. People build support systems in their community. DH and I decided not to move while our kids were growing up, because we valued that stability. We have paid a price career-wise, but we don’t regret our decision.

  3. Even years ago when the economy was booming in my neck of the woods, trying to find two jobs in a new location that allowed for a total household income bump was hard. We had several opportunities for one of us to get an increase, but it took the other one to an area where employment in their field would result in a decrease, so no net benefit for the family especially after accounting for uncovered relocation costs. Also, there was not any other reason – better schools, closer to family, cool place we always wanted to live, etc. to draw us to make the change.

    Most of the families we have seen move are in the situation where one person’s job is significantly more lucrative, so the spouse follows, or where one job is very flexible in location. A friend is a consultant so it doesn’t matter where she lives as long as she is within an hour of a major airport, as she is “in the field” about 35 weeks a year from 3-5 days each week. Her husband works for a company that promotions tend to mean moving locations, but a they are still to major metros, it has worked well for them.

    For the sandwich generation it can also mean the difference of figuring out care and/or moving an elderly parent(s) as well.

  4. DH and I decided not to move while our kids were growing up, because we valued that stability.

    From what I understand c. 1986, there was an entire class of corporate upper middle class jobs where moving up the corporate ladder required frequent moves. This was also a time when parents were far less involved with their children than they are now. I expect the childrens’ concerns weighed far less on the decision than would be the case now.

  5. I have done quite a bit of HR work for my area and from about 2008 – 2013 it was very hard to find people for our top jobs from out of state because they were underwater on their houses. That’s not a factor any more but it seems like the top jobs still require the use of search firms.

    DH and I would move for the right opportunity, but only back to New England where our parents live. Otherwise, why not stay here where we have a support system in place and have an easy commute? It also seems like it’s somewhat of a devil you know situation. DH’s current job is safe and pays really well and it’s hard to know if that will be the case if we move, especially since we’re going down to one income in a few weeks. DH talked to an HR person in Boston a few weeks ago about a position who seemed surprised at his salary down here and surprised that they wouldn’t need to help me find a job.

  6. “From what I understand c. 1986, there was an entire class of corporate upper middle class jobs where moving up the corporate ladder required frequent moves.”

    Pretty much in that year exactly, our neighbor across the street (bigger house than ours) was an executive for Sony. Our neighborhood was stop #20 in his 23-year-career.

    I agree with LfB’s critique, and I’m guessing the two-earner factor is the most significant. I also think that’s what’s contributing to the increasing concentration of affluence around major metropolitan areas (which brings its own trap because the COL then requires two incomes), and relative drop in rural areas. But like we’ve said before, with the right employment arrangements, a couple can arbitrage that.

  7. I agree with Rhett that there was a time where the career ladder required frequent moves. I recall that starting in the mid-70s and running through the late 80s. That was before there was as much of this “downsizing/right sizing” movement. There was more of a philosophy of growing your own talent rather than letting someone else train them and seeing people as fairly interchangeable.

    My dad’s job moved us twice in the 70s. The may concern in both cases was access to schools (either good public or affordable private) and housing in a “decent” (which for my family meant kids around, a pool that we could bike to, a play ground – basically things to keep kids out of mom’s hair) neighborhood.

    Not only were parents not as involved with their children, but there were fewer things for children to be involved in at the same level. You might play Little League or in a Y league or in some areas maybe even a city league, but this whole “select and club” teams was not nearly as wide spread as it is now.

  8. Milo – I think we can save 50% of our income MMM style now because the gross is now smaller and no more daycare.:)

  9. Atlanta – welcome to the dark side!

    We live where we do because of my husband’s job. I could have done my job in any mid or large sized city and would have preferred a smaller market because the hours are fewer and the requirements are less intense. And I would strongly prefer living closer to my family.

  10. Atlanta – that’s so great! Congrats to you!

    I’ve seen you all mention MMM but have never read his stuff. Seriously putting any of his practices to use or is Milo being funny?

  11. Most Totebagger or near Totebagger level families have moved here and have one higher earner as opposed to two incomes. Sometimes, depending on the age of the kids the trailing spouse takes up a flex job but doesn’t really need to. There are moves out of this area too. One very noticeable thing is home schooling for periods of time in younger grades as families settle in. My DD just told me that her friend’s family wants to travel and her friend who just moved here will possibly be homeschooled next year. We as a Totebaggy two income couple are definitely in the minority here.

  12. Thanks All. I’m excited about it and somewhat fortuitously DH is getting a bump in base pay at the same time I leave so it’s a net positive.

    Louise – Atlanta is the same way. I know a bunch of families who moved here for the husband’s job and the wife continues to work from home for her old employer.

  13. DW has worked remotely for the same employer for the past 26 years, so she could have remained with them pretty much wherever we lived. I have gotten offers to work elsewhere, but in one case we would have been disadvantaged financially (internal corporate move, nice enough raise for me but not enough to bump our overall income by enough to cover the increased cost of living), and the other would have been a ‘desperation move’ after I’d been floating between jobs for about 3 years to a place neither one of us really wanted to live. The money would have been right though. So we remained here and I got a position with this employer about 6 months later. All in all, I believe it was the right call for our family.

    I think one the caption to one photo in one of the linked articles makes sense…the loss of ‘social capital’ (friends, connections, support structure, family) as a factor in deciding to stay or move. We have no family here, but we definitely have the other things, and at this point losing those and having to reestablish them in a new place is what I fear most about moving to a new area once we retire. We’re agreed we want to move someplace else (warmer), so that will happen. I know we can do it, but the need to do so is concerning to me.

  14. For me, this article was a knee-jerk “duh” — all of our moves have come from job losses, not attempts to move up the ladder, and the biggest issue every time was finding two jobs vs. just the one, so I thought the article seriously underplayed that aspect. But I also wasn’t sure I wasn’t being blinded by my own experience, so it’s interesting to see what everyone else thinks as well.

    My dad was definitely that corporate jockey from the ’70s-’90s; the closest I ever lived to him after about 1972 was when he was in Delaware and I was a short 2-hr Greyhound ride away in HS. It took me a long time to understand that it wasn’t his choice — he was just expected to move every couple of years to wherever the company needed him. One job they moved him to a different city to build a new plant, then expected him to commute back to HQ M-F, almost every week, for close to 18 months while they did the design and planning. I think that was a big contributing factor to the breakup of his second marriage.

    Those sorts of job expectations seem far less prevalent nowadays, but I wonder which is the chicken and which is the egg. Did companies decide that more stability was a good thing? Or were they forced to change because people became less willing to move, either because they had two jobs to consider, or because of the social concerns, or because they just didn’t want to and had plenty of opportunities where they were?

  15. I agree that the 2-parent thing is a major contributor here.

    Where I grew up, we had only a few people moving in/out – not an area where you get a lot of inflow, and there certainly weren’t many corporations there. ;) People tended to stay around – a lot of people were alums of the state school. I only know a few of my friends from HS who stayed, though – most of us were out of there and never returned.

    DH’s work, luckily, allowed him to transfer from NY to MA fairly easily – it became mobile/telecommuting at the same time we moved up here. I moved bc New York was too hot and big and I wanted to be back in New England. And going forward (if you couldn’t already tell, lol) I would look for jobs here first before moving elsewhere. :)

  16. L – I grew up where there wasn’t a lot of in or out either so living here is a bit jarring sometimes. We’ve had three really close friends move either out of state or just further out in the metro area. DD’s two best friends are both moving this summer. One who lives a neighborhood away is going to private school next year and her mom (who I’m close with) just told me they are putting their house on the market this week and moving outside the perimeter (or OTP as we say). They will only be twenty minutes away but I think it does change things. Her other best friend from this past year is moving back to France. DD is so much more resilient about change than I was at that age as she said she’ll just make more friends. Her camp counselor for this week told her she wanted to move to Georgia when she graduates from college and my daughter told her she’d rather move to the beach. I remember being traumatized when we moved to a different house in the same town when I was a kid!

  17. I moved around a lot right out of college, but I am not really willing to move again right now. Part of it is our local family & support system, part of it is that we are a 2-income family & I would be worried about the trailing spouse, and part of it is that I like where we live. Also – I have no interest in moving to NYC and any salary bump would likely not make up for the COL change. On the flip side, when I’ve been approached for job opportunities in smaller cities, it seems unappealing because what if it doesn’t work out? Here there are an abundance of jobs in my field at my level. In Nashville or Kansas City – not so much.

  18. When I was about 6, my family moved from being walking distance to my grandparents to the middle of the country, so we grew up not really knowing our cousins. When my daughter was 2, we moved from living 2 miles from my parents to Houston for a significant job opportunity for my husband. My company offered me a raise to stay, but it was still well short of the bump he was getting. On the plus side, I got to work from home here the entire time my kids were growing up, and it is likely that the schools here were better for my dyslexic child (schools there are a mess). On the downside, we don’t have a support system here – most of the good friends we’ve made here have moved out of Houston. In my hometown, many of my friends have moved back, the church I grew up in still appeals to me, the high school I attended would have been outstanding for my kids. Most importantly, my parents are still there. My dad has a mystery ailment requiring appointments and scans multiple times a week. I desperately wish I could be there to help. In hindsight, family means so much more than career. I wish we had stayed. (Ignoring the decimation of the economy there and assuming we would have had comparable careers)

  19. DH can do his job pretty much anywhere – I’m locked into a coastal region. We discussed moving, but it’s so hard because of the network we have. I do believe people are looking more at the whole of their life, not just the number of digits after the dollar sign. So they are less likely to move if they find that the other parts of their life are going well.

    That said, if a great opportunity came up for one of us, the other is willing to move without a job. We did it ~10 years ago, so why not again? Though, talk to me after DS starts school. My tune may change.

    Congrats Atlanta!!

  20. Growing up my friends were always coming and going. Lots of relocation transfers. It was the norm for the area as people climbed the corporate ladder. Ten years ago when DH and I decided to relocate he had a difficult time finding companies that would pay for relocation. We weren’t going to move unless it was for a better job, more money, housing search assistance, and paid moving expense. It was like finding a unicorn. It took awhile but we found something. Once we moved here I had an easy time landing a job. Within a few years of the move my DH’s company stopped paying for relocation of new hires, and that still seems to be the trend around here. The unicorn is even harder to find.

    Speaking of job transitions, my DH just left his job, without another one lined up. He wanted a change as his job had become pretty stagnant with no challenges in sight. He was finding it hard to look for a job while under the watchful eye of big brother. The trend around here has been to leave employment first, then do full-time job search. Luckily medical benefits are under me, because otherwise he wouldn’t have left and would have continued to be miserable.

    I can definitely see that people don’t want to look for employment elsewhere because it is a full-time job and it is risky – for financial reasons, benefit reasons, and emotional reasons. Do you stay put because you know what to expect, or look to see if the grass is greener somewhere else?

  21. Atlanta – we are the ones moving away, but because of traffic/where we are now, we are moving from about 25 minutes from friends to 45.

  22. “I can definitely see that people don’t want to look for employment elsewhere because it is a full-time job and it is risky – for financial reasons, benefit reasons, and emotional reasons. Do you stay put because you know what to expect, or look to see if the grass is greener somewhere else?”

    I stay put right now because I like my job well enough, I’ve been successful here, because I’ve built relationships, and because starting over and rebuilding your reputation and relationships is a lot of work That said, I always peruse the listings & see what is out there. Keep my Linked In up to date. Will chat with recruiters if they reach out to me about an opportunity to make a connection. You never know when there will be a company shake up, a management change that directly affects you, etc.

    At my last company, I knew from day one that it wasn’t a good place to be long term, and I was pretty much always looking at least a little bit. It was not an emergency though – I wasn’t deeply unhappy, just knew that it wasn’t going to be somewhere to put down deep roots.

  23. I think we’d move to my hometown to be closer to my parents, but that’s it. Wouldn’t consider anything else, unless it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  24. We like where we live well enough, but it’s a small area and the threat of being forced to move and find other job(s) affects our/my housing and remodeling decisions. Corporations now choose to grow in cities close to a major airport and have a model that assumes a flow of appropriate workers in and out, rather than moving workers around. Mr WCE’s Dad had a situation similar to LfB’s Dad when designing and building nuclear plants.

    The data in the articles is fairly dated. In response to LfB’s question about blinders, I see a “Totebaggy” situation and a “general” situation.

    Totebaggy:
    Enough people have moved out of rural areas in the past 3 decades that most of the people remaining don’t aspire to or have the aptitude for Totebaggy careers. Scarlett’s son(s) is the exception rather than the rule, I think, for growing up in NoVa and settling in the somewhat rural Midwest. When I saw a story about low graduation rates for Pell grant recipients, I was reminded of the guy I dated in college, who was a Pell grant recipient and one of the university’s three Rhodes Scholar nominees. He and his various cousins have nearly all moved out of rural Iowa, and they are not working at the grain elevator/catalog call center type jobs his parents worked at. They are in Totebaggy jobs in cities. In short, from a statistical perspective, the rural brain drain is largely complete.

    For those of you in larger cities, do you expect your kids to remain in urban areas with numerous job opportunities? If rural America and smaller cities are to recover good jobs, I think it will be because corporations loosen the geographical requirements. Normal families can’t afford to live in the Bay Area, but there are lots of jobs I could do from here with a trip down there once/month if companies were willing to hire (vs. just retain) people according to that model.

    General:
    Tradespeople are expected to be mobile and it’s hard to get a good permanent job as an electrician or a pipefitter. My BIL has this problem. My teacher friend married to an electrician has the better job now, but 30 years ago, he earned more than double what she would have made as a teacher. When he was laid off, the offers he could get paid less than he made in the mid 80’s, when he started his career. It made far more sense to keep her job (with 20 years of vested state pension and great medical insurance) than to keep moving their family for likely short-term “permanent” electrician jobs. If the medical field has significant layoffs, we may see people moving for medical jobs, because since they are heavily government funded, they tend to be more stable than other jobs.

    I think the root cause of the general problem is that there are fewer jobs worth moving for.

  25. “I think the root cause of the general problem is that there are fewer jobs worth moving for.”

    I was thinking this too based on jobs data — insufficient jobs have been created to keep up with workers and wage stagnation for many types of jobs. But the other reasons mentioned would also combine to paint the overall picture.

    Fred, why do you feel the “need” to move after you retire?

    Atlanta, I’ll send a package of bonbons down to you. ;)

  26. Great comments WCE. Yes, my kids are city kids, much to DH’s chagrin. He’s a country boy at heart and has raised a city family in the middle of a very large city. Both kids will settle into large cities.

  27. “Fred, why do you feel the “need” to move after you retire?”

    Common attitude for Fred’s area, given the weather.

    Was just in that neighborhood – enjoyed a Mighty Taco and a beef on weck (at the airport) and picked up some sponge candy. =)

  28. CoC – we don’t “need” to move…when we moved here the plan was 6-8 years here then the next stop on the corporate itinerary. Then life intervened. We really do like it well enough here, but we’re fairly typical like many in our social stratum here who do not have parents nearby, the likelihood of one or more of our kids ever settling here to raise their family is pretty low, the taxes are killer just like for you, Lauren, MM, others in non-NYC NY. (We’ll pay off our mortgage soon enough, and, roughly right, only cut our monthly housing cost by 60% due to the high property tax rate.) Somewhere near the latitude of the Mason-Dixon line and nearer to the cost than here is probably where we’ll end up. Many of our closest friends are corporate transplants like us and almost all are planning to move early in retirement.

  29. ATM covered the other point…the long winters.
    E.g. in the Philadelphia area, in my experience, the seasons tend to start right around the “official” calendar starts to Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Here, as for our friends in Michigan / Wisconsin / Minnesota, Fall tends to start more like on Labor Day weekend; we can get Winter weather beginning around Halloween and lasting until Spring starts in the middle of April. That 5 month stretch of winter needs to be shortened and less severe for me if I’m to like living someplace of my choosing (and not for work)

  30. I think that WCE and Ivy have good points. Moving to a smaller city for a job is risky because there just aren’t as many other jobs if the current one doesn’t work out. Then you may be looking at moving again. And WCE’s points about rural brain drain are spot on. I may think moving to my hometown would be nice but in reality the people that stayed (purely judging by my FB feed) I didn’t have much in common with in high school so what would that mean for my kids.

    CoC – LOL. I’ll accept those bon bons for what my husband terms “my life of leisure”

  31. DH was raised in a more isolated area and hated it. His parents had moved there for his Dad’s job but they were not successful at getting out and taking advantage of the opportunities elsewhere. They were also far from family. The first thing the kids did were to get out of there. After living with my in laws, I understand how much this cost them. Though their kids turned out great, it had a negative impact on their marriage. Now, one sibling lives in a bedroom community that is far from things. This reminds the family of their isolated childhood and they don’t want to visit.

  32. None of our kids is going to live in this area as an adult, so DH and I don’t have any reason to stay post-retirement. (Except that he will never retire, but that is a separate issue.) One thing I have considered, however, is that my 80+- year old dad moved here to live near us, and so if and when we escape we would have to take him with us, and then find him a new retirement community to dislike.
    Because we are not in an attractive or major metro area, the university faces challenges in convincing faculty or administrative candidates to move here. And some of the administration seems completely and amazingly clueless that the major obstacle to hiring more female faculty and top administrators is that they almost always have employed husbands with no good job options.

  33. I’m not sure that moving for a job is a good thing. People build support systems in their community. DH and I decided not to move while our kids were growing up, because we valued that stability. We have paid a price career-wise, but we don’t regret our decision.

    I agree. I understand why people do it, at the same time, I think stability is very important. I also agree that the increase in two-career households is a big factor, because it can be difficult for the trailing spouse to find a job.

  34. I lived in the same city except for college until I was 30, but I moved a few times with bank that I worked for in the 90s. I specifically joined the bank after I received my MBA because I was very single, and I wanted to travel. A few of the people in my program are still with that bank, and they do travel a lot even though they have kids now, and it is more challenging. I never gave up my rent controlled apartment in NY because I wanted an anchor in NY.

    I passed up an opportunity to relocate to London when DD was a baby. It would have been easy for DH to work there with his firm, but we were reluctant to make the move away from our families. We both worked long hours, and our parents used to step in when we didn’t want to send a babysitter. Most of our relatives live within an hour drive, so we didn’t want to lose that even for a chance to live in London.

    Do you remember the moderator, Sara, from the Juggle? Her DD was almost the same age as mine, and I was so interested when she started to share bits of her overseas move.

  35. I think we will likely stay put until kids really settle some where. House is 2 story, but master is down stairs. Once the kids are gone (at least 8 years until youngest graduates from college), we may downsize to a single story and with less yard to maintain. We would only need half the space we have now, even with a guest space. Plus, by that time we will be 75 and 60. Given what I just went through with my parents, it would be good for us to be near one/both DDs.

    But, will they stay here? Depends on what they decide to study and what industries they are employed in. Too early to tell.

  36. I think it has been really good for our family to live in different parts of the country. There’s so much to know and experience out there.

  37. I am back in my hometown and I can’t really imagine moving now, even though from a practical perspective we would be much better off career and time-wise near MM and Lauren.

    Atlanta, welcome to the club! If you drive north to the Cape and want to stop by for a break, you can get my contact info from CoC. We are two blocks off an exit on 95 :)

  38. What WCE described is one aspect of the post WWII geographical realignment of the country. The exodus from rural and small town communities was not just of those who now had the opportunity for higher education and a wider range of professions, but also of the misfits, the ambitious, the irreligious. The expansion of the SunBelt from 1970 on also allowed those in denser, colder and declining regions to move from their own closeknit communities to regions they found more congenial and with more opportunity. By the time of the recent Recession, the people who had moved were living by choice among like minded and economically similar people. so were the people who stayed. It is not just two earner families with lack of opportunity for the other spouse (totebaggers quite naturally overestimate the proportion of those). Or young earners who are tight with their families and don’t want to move away. Or those who simply can’t afford the housing where the jobs are. Or the weather. It is also people who have strong opinions, often distorted, about how people in other regions live, and fear that they will never fit in and wouldn’t want to try.

  39. Sky – we may actually stop in Fairfield County to visit friends so I’ll get your info from CoC.

  40. So, I said I didn’t want to talk about Brock Turner, but here I am anyway. Have you actually read the letter from the victim? It’s 12 pages, so I was all, “TL;DR” but DAMN it’s good. Everyone keeps saying it’s “powerful”, so I don’t want to keep saying that too, but…it is. If anyone ever doubted the value of good writing, this is your counterexample. When even Joe Biden starts talking about your letter, you know that your humanities classes just might have been worth it. It might be that we will stop giving drunk rapists a pass, as we stopped giving drunk drivers a pass in the 1980s, and it will be in part because of this woman’s letter.

  41. @RMS — I haven’t read all of hers, but I found this one today really hit me – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/06/08/his-victim-is-the-victim-a-fellow-father-responds-to-stanford-sexual-assault-offenders-dad/ – it’s a letter to the dad.

    “Brock has to register as a sex offender because he sexually assaulted an incapacitated young woman. This is why we have such requirements; because one vile act against another human being is one too many, because we don’t get a do-over when we do unspeakable things, because people need to be protected with knowledge of others in their midst who have failed so egregiously at respecting another person’s basic dignity.

    The idea that your son has never violated another woman next to a dumpster before isn’t a credit to his character. We don’t get kudos for only raping one person in our lifetime. I don’t believe your son is a monster, but he acted like one and that needs to be accounted for. To be sure, this decision is not the sum total of Brock’s life, but it is an important part of the equation and it matters deeply.”

    I mean, damn.

  42. RMS- it really is that good. I figured I didn’t need to read it because I have read a few dozen headlines about it. But, wow.

  43. I read the letter the first day it was making the rounds, and it made me cry. She so eloquently voiced so many of the thoughts and emotions that typically go unsaid. She is a very talented writer. I agree RMS, that we may see a sea change in people’s willingness to speak up about this, sparked entirely by her letter. But then I read some comments sections, and see how many people continue to consider her equally guilty. The whole thing is just sad, and my poor sweet son has been subjected to multiple stern lectures about being the Swede on the bike and not the rapist who happens to swim fast.

  44. I’ve been thinking about Meme’s comment that people are more free to move since WW II. My Dad recently became engaged to my Mom’s widowed friend from church. My Dad is somewhat pitied because all his kids went to college and moved away, so he has no family nearby. His fiancee has some of her family locally, a large contingent of her first husband’s family locally and her two daughters nearby and they’ve already welcomed my Dad into family gatherings. My Dad will have a step-great-grandchild the same age as a grandchild.

    I’ve also thought about how many of you live where you do to be near family. Especially for people who want to rear children, living far from family makes it harder to be a dual career family because there is no one to turn to when travel or work obligations are simultaneous, unless you have a live-in nanny or au pair.

    One other that may affect mobility is smaller families, because fewer people have a sibling who can be responsible for eldercare. We’ll see in the next couple decades, as more of the children born in the 60’s and 70’s reach the eldercare years, whether this is a factor in mobility.

  45. I read the letter and found it for one thing to tell it clearly from the rape victim’s point of view.
    I come from a culture where girls face an uphill battle. For my daughter, this was empowering.

    “And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining. Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.”

  46. I also read the whole letter, though I intended only to skim it. It was amazing. I only read part of the dad’s letter, and can’t figure out whether it was desperate posturing to save his kid, or whether he really believes what he wrote. Also cannot figure out what the attorney was thinking in his hard-ball approach. This wasn’t a case of he said-she said with no physical evidence of anything other than arguably consensual sexual activity. The guy was literally caught in the act by two impeachable non-intoxicated witnesses, and why he didn’t plead out is a mystery.

    Of course the sentence was too short, but life as he knew it is over for this kid, which may be far more punishment than a longer jail term. He has been a superstar swimmer since childhood, and his name is on the record boards at pools all over Ohio. Star swimmers don’t get celebrity treatment among regular people until they win Olympic medals, but he was a Big Deal in his swimming bubble. And he was probably a pretty good kid until he wasn’t.

  47. WCE – it is not just the kids who moved away since WWII, but also the parents in retirement – to Florida or Arizona, usually. And even if you live down the street from a youthful grandma, she may have a full time job. Many of the folks here who live within 1-1/2 hours driving distance from family, which helps in a crisis or for occasional child care/scheduled elder medical appt , are too far away for the 7 am call to mind a sick kid or the almost daily drop in on the elderly who need it.

  48. Scarlett,

    Speaking of shows to watch – you might like The People vs. OJ Simpson.

  49. @Hour From Nowhere – I do wonder if it would be good for DS to experience living other places. I know that it was influential for me, even though growing up we only had one big move. I lived a number of places in my 20’s, and from a personal growth perspective, it was great to have that experience. But it’s a trade off. DH has lived basically within the city limits for his entire life, and occasionally, I am shocked at

    To Meme’s point – I don’t just “think” I know how things are in other areas, I lived there. I actually think that I would do fine socially in the small town where I graduated from HS, but that doesn’t mean that I ever want to live there again for other reasons. But I also see the benefits. They just don’t outweigh the cons. And in contrast to WCE, I do have friends who are professionals (engineers, actuaries, accountants, IT types) who still live in the general area with Totebag jobs and values. They just all tend to work at the same few locally-based companies as lifers as opposed to having the same career opportunities that are available in bigger cites. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. It’s just not what I want.

  50. ” to Florida or Arizona, usually”

    In my Dad’s family, they do that at 70 (one couple to Scottsdale, one to Jupiter). But at 85 or so, the three survivors either moved back to the Northeast to be near kids, or moved to CA to be near one of the kids.

  51. RMS – I hadn’t read the letter as I didn’t think I needed to. But then you recommended it, so I just read it, and I am now having a little cry. Wow.

  52. RMS, I’m glad my Dad found someone suitable. They’ve known each other for 40 years- her Dad’s funeral is the first funeral I remember attending- and I think they’ll be very happy together. They already know lots of the same people. She has been a widow for 8 or 10 years already. Her sister’s husband (same extended family in the same church, same 40 years together) died last summer about the same time as my Mom, so some of the social activities may include her, too. They’ll have 20 combined grandchildren, and she’s starting in on great-grandchildren, so just going to everyone’s birthday celebrations should keep them fairly occupied.

    Mémé, I’m glad you pointed out how the size of the metropolitan area affects one’s concept of “stayed in the same town.” My Dad’s fiancee’s family is all within a ~5 mile radius and my grandmother-technicians at work are within 5-10 miles of their kids. One daughter works on Saturdays as a hairdresser, for example, since Saturday is a busy day and Grandma can watch the kids since she works Monday-Friday. (And 5 or 10 miles in town or on country roads is not like, for example, 10 miles in and out of a major city)

    Lots of people from my high school moved to Cedar Rapids or the western Chicago suburbs, the nearest “metropolitan” areas.

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