For Nearly Half of America, Grass Is Greener Somewhere Else

Jan 29, 2009

Where would Americans most like to live -- and how do they feel about the place they currently call home?

A new national survey by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project finds that nearly half (46%) of the public would rather live in a different type of community from the one they're living in now -- a sentiment that is most prevalent among city dwellers. When asked about specific metropolitan areas where they would like to live, respondents rank Denver, San Diego and Seattle at the top of a list of 30 cities, and Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati at the bottom.

Even though the survey shows that many Americans have a bit of wanderlust, it also finds that most are satisfied with where they live now. More than eight-in-ten rate their current communities as excellent, very good or good. People who have moved at least once (63%) and those who have lived in the same place all their lives (37%) are equally content with their current home.

These findings emerge from a wide-ranging telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,260 adults, conducted Oct. 3-19, 2008. An earlier report, based on other questions from the same survey, found that nearly one-in-four adults (23%) say the place in their heart they consider home isn't where they are living now. That report also cited Census Bureau data indicating that Americans are changing residences less often than they used to: Only 11.9% moved between 2007 and 2008, the lowest share since the government began tracking this measure in the late 1940s.

Read the full report For Nearly Half of America, Grass Is Greener Somewhere Else and take on the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends project Web site.

How satisfied are you with your community? Take the Pew Research Center's online quiz to find out.

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