Americans answer D.C.'s siren song of employment, strong economy

Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:26pm EST
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By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thirteen years ago the band The Magnetic Fields crooned that the U.S. capital city is "the greatest place to be," in the indie love song "Washington, D.C."

Recently, a growing number of Americans are singing along as they move to the District in search of jobs, economic opportunity and cultural attractions.

In a study on migration provided exclusively to Reuters that is set to be released next month, United Van Lines found the District of Columbia tops all 50 states for the number of people moving in during 2012.

The city has held that spot for five years running, with 64 percent of the household moves in Washington coming from outside the city in 2012.

United Van Lines is the largest moving company in the country for households.

Oregon ranked second, followed by Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina. Washington is a city that does not belong to a state, but is subject to loose control from the federal government.

"Washington, D.C., is unique because over the last five years its unemployment rate was not hit as hard by the Great Recession," said Michael Stoll, chair and professor of public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles about the study. "But I think the other thing is that the city has remade itself from the one we knew 10 to 15 years ago."

Washington has shed its reputation as the crime capital of the country, and it has developed a high technology corridor and other businesses that are both stable and hiring, said Stoll.   Continued...