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Would you permanently leave your family for a better job?

Published: Thursday, July 17 2014 5:14 p.m. MDT

Only 30 percent of Americans still live in the town where they grew up, and such relocation is largely influenced by the hope for a better job.

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Only 30 percent of Americans still live in the town where they grew up, a number closely related to the willingness of many Americans to move for a better job, according to a new survey conducted by the polling agency YouGov.

“Many of these moves are made for work reasons,” YouGov’s Peter Moore wrote, “chasing the promise of a better job and a better life to the states where incomes are high and houses are cheap.”

In fact, according to YouGov, some men and women are even willing to permanently move away from their spouse in order to pursue a more fulfilling job, though they are in the minority.

But would such move be worth it?

Things aren’t looking good for the 18 percent — roughly one in 5 — of those surveyed who are willing to ditch their significant other and make the move, since the payoffs of relocating are decreasing.

“Americans are moving less — and not as far — because it's not nearly as worthwhile economically,” Citylab’s Richard Florida wrote last April.

The most recent census data supports Florida's claim, showing a dramatic drop in state-to-state migration after 2005.

Citing a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, Florida explains that, historically, Americans are more likely to move “from neighborhood to neighborhood in the same city or county” and more long-distance relocation is typically reserved for “those seeking better job opportunities.”

However “the evidence suggests,” Florida continues, “that Americans are moving less because they're changing jobs less often, and they're changing jobs less often because the money to be gained from doing so just isn’t as good as it was in the past.”

Americans are indeed changing jobs less often, the BLS' most recent report of average job tenure suggests.

So with current trends pushing against relocation, what, exactly, does a job have to offer to qualify as "better" enough to convince someone to permanently leave a spouse?

According to a report by Forbes last year, the five things workers look for the most in a job are — in descending order — stability, compensation, respect, health benefits and work-life balance.

The report, which was based on a CEB survey, shows not only what workers value, according to Forbes' Meghan Casserly, but what they feel they don't already have.

So what would lure 18 percent of those surveyed away from their spouses permanently? While one can't cast a sweeping net across the 18 percent who answered "yes," it seems as though for some, stability at work trumps stability at home.

JJ Feinauer is a Web producer for Moneywise and Opinion on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: jjfeinauer.

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