As Americans flock back to school and homecomings crop up nationwide, hometowns are on the minds of many. A new nationwide survey found 29% of Americans still live in their hometowns, and 1 in 4 identify as so-called ‘townies’– those who stay in their hometown for their entire life.
Of those self-identified townies, 51% are proud to be one, and 41% see themselves living in their hometown for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, half are planning to move out of their hometown within the next 5 years. The survey found that many Americans who live in their hometowns currently do move out at some point and then come back- sometimes all it takes is going away to really value what you had the whole time.
On a broad level, over 2 in 3 Americans still live in their home state. The median distance and drive time from their hometown are 30 miles and 47 minutes, respectively. Citing comfort, emotional attachment, and finances as the main drivers keeping them living in their hometowns, Americans seem happy to be there. The older they are, the more this is true, too– 79% of Baby Boomers enjoy living in their hometowns, as well as 60% of Gen X and 59% of Millennials. This trend is lower for Gen Z, who seem less enthusiastic at the prospect of living where they grow up. Perhaps hometown pride simply increases with age!
Of those living in their hometowns, 38% live in their childhood home, and this is doubly true for Gen Z – 86% of Zoomers living in their hometown still live with their parents. While this does save money, nearly 1 in 3 are still embarrassed. Living with Mom and Dad can have its perks, though– with rent being so much for so little space in large cities, having that extra room at no cost can seem like a huge benefit!
For those who did leave, 70% felt they had to in order to live the life they wanted, whether it was different living environments, following family, or even for work and school. Over 3 in 5 still keep in touch with their friends, and nearly half miss their hometown. Given that 1 in 5 regret moving, it’s no surprise that 21% of Americans plan on moving back to their home state. With remote jobs still plentiful and, as one study found, enjoyed by 98% of remote workers, living flexibility is more achievable than ever- no need to move to the city to find a dream job! Why leave home when you can have a career and community in the same place?
While we might see the familiar story of college students leaving home to make their way in the world, perhaps their wayfinding isn’t quite so far from their roots! Given remote work opportunities, ample side hustles able to be done from home, and the built-in community, hometowns have never been more appealing for Americans. When was the last time you were home?