Document Type



Educational Studies (CGU)

Publication Date



Place and Environment | Sociology | Urban Studies and Planning


Remember when Americans had hometowns? "Where are you from?" we'd ask one another.

And the answer would come back: New York City. St. Joseph, Mo. Atlanta. Santa Barbara, Calif. Chattanooga, Tenn.

But odds are that now we'd get a more complicated response. It'd go something like this: "Well, I was born in Atlanta but we moved to Baltimore when I was 11 and in my junior year of high school, we went out to L.A. I've been in Chicago for a year."

And even this might not be quite accurate. The speaker may have been born in an Atlanta exurb and have moved with her parents to a Baltimore suburb and subsequently to a town some miles outside Los Angeles before migrating to a community close to but not in Chicago.

So where should one consider her from? All over, maybe? Which raises the question: does this erosion of a sense of place matter? Yes, it does. For throughout history, people have derived their identity in part from where they lived. Now, every year an estimated 45 million Americans move.


Posted with permission from The Christian Science Monitor.

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© 2005 Christian Science Monitor

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