more than one residential location, with varying frequency. Gober and Mings (1984:165) argue that “nonpermanent changes in residence have received little attention by social scientists in the western-industrialized world because the process of nonpermanent movement falls between the crack, so to speak, of what we usually define as migration and tourism.” For many reasons, even the rough size of the populations in these living situation groups is difficult to ascertain, much less definitive information on trends in their growth as a share of the total population.
Alone among modern U.S. censuses, the 1980 census included in its supplementary reports a separate tabulation of nonpermanent residents, tallying “elderly seasonal migrants, owners of second homes, itinerant farm workers and business people who reside part-time in out-of-town accommodations” (Gober and Mings, 1984:164). These estimates “were never intended as estimates of seasonal or any other form of temporary migration” (McHugh et al., 1995:253), and they excluded nonpermanent residential situations such as those “staying temporarily at the home of a permanent resident or in hotels, motels, campgrounds or other tourist-like settings” (Gober and Mings, 1984:164). Despite their limitations, the 1980 estimates were something rare in the study of multiple-residence situations—national-level information, rather than case-study analysis.
Both Smith (1989) and McHugh et al. (1995) suggest broader conceptual frameworks for understanding multiple residence. These frameworks suggest that the assumption that people are linked to a single usual fixed place of residence may be unrealistic.
“Anyone who has spent spring vacation in Daytona Beach, August at the New Jersey seashore, or February in Sun City, Arizona, knows that many places have large numbers of temporary residents who live there for a few days, weeks, or even months.” These temporary residents, Smith (1989:430) notes, “often have a tremendous impact on an area’s economic, social, and physical environment, as they increase the demand for housing, shopping centers, health care, water, electricity, transportation, recreational facilities, police protection, and many other types of goods and services.” Lowry (1987:15) comments that some of the “seasonal inflow of residents” in such areas are “casual visitors who will not return; but others return year after year, either to rented quarters or to seasonal homes that they own.” This latter group is particularly interesting because, by virtue of the frequency with which they return to the area, they develop strong ties and “often become substantially involved in local affairs through their status as property owners.” However, “they are not usually able to vote in local elections because they have registered elsewhere.”