5 Dec 2013

Moving: A game of give and take

8:45 am on 5 December 2013

Don't forget the trade-offs you might be making for your next big move.

Victoria University PhD student Michael Sloan spent three years comparing people's expectations with the reality of moving house. He looked at the trends and patterns identified in migration statistics, including peoples own assessment of their move.

His research has shown that most people believe they make the right decision, with 80 per cent satisfied with their move.

Most recent research assumes people move for economic reasons, however, while money does come into a lot of decisions to move (around 30 per cent), there are a number of trade-offs that have to be made, Sloan says.

“So for example, if I moved to Wellington [from a smaller town] I would have to move to a less affluent neighbourhood than where I was to start off with to get into the market.”

 “If you move to a smaller area you’ll have better quality housing. But I found that people who did move to more rural areas weren’t satisfied with their social life because, we assume, it’s harder for them to get in touch with other people. Even internet is faster in the cities as opposed the rural areas. And they’re also away from those big labour markets.”

Sloan says the overall level of satisfaction remains pretty constant whether people are moving to city or the country: “People moving to the city have high employment satisfaction, probably because they have more employment opportunities. By going to a larger employment market like Auckland, you might have access to more jobs or a better career market. But in doing this their standard of living decreases.”

The research could have implications in the debate about Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch hollowing out rural areas, he says. 

“Any adjustments to get people into the smaller towns are going to come at some cost if that’s not what people are necessarily aiming to improve. So, those are the sort of issues we need to look at when we think about pushing jobs to the provinces.”

Cover image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.