Mobility trends a mixed bag for boating

Stateline is out with an interesting look at where and why people are moving these days.

Their conclusion? The cost of housing is one of the biggest drivers, along with the availability of jobs. Mobility has plunged to near-record lows during the recession, but has been ticking up in recent years as the job market improved.

Those two factors, of course, play a big role in boating, as the housing bubble helped to fuel boat purchases in the previous decade and employment being the biggest factor in consumer confidence.

But the underlying numbers also offer us some insight into where people are moving — and how those areas are for boating.

The good news is that one of the biggest areas for population growth is Florida, the No. 1 boating state in the country. Interestingly, though, it’s Southern Florida that seems to be the biggest beneficiary. Several counties along the Gulf Coast are losing population. (And Florida is under increased pressure from many to reduce access for boaters.)

Texas, another big boating state, is also growing, although the growth is centering around the urban areas, with many rural parts of the state losing population.

Most of the West Coast is also gaining population, which could be positive if the sleeping giant of California ever returns to its glory days of boating. (Noting the access issues again.)

On the negative side, the report shows the continued population deterioration of significant parts of big Midwest boating states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. That points to continued challenges in that part of the country.




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