Throughout our surveys, the difference by gender in those planning relocation has been minimal. I have simply assumed that this reflected the majority of those relocating were not single, but were households of two or more where both genders were represented. In 2011, a major gap is obvious. As I will discuss later with the stats based on status (married, single, etc.), this likely reflects a big jump in the number of single people, assuming the great majority are male.
There are two other potential contributing factors. Of those actually planning to relocate, the number of people in civil unions has increased as well, if not as dramatically as for single people. If the majority of these are gay male couples (a question we did not include in the survey), than that would also impact these figures. However, civil unions are a very small portion of the total and very unlikely to be responsible for this gender shift.
There has also been an increase in those in the “divorced/widowed/separated” category. This is a much larger sub-category than civil unions and it is possible that it makes a major contribution to the sharper increase in males rather than females.
In any case, this unexpected shift is notable and deserves attention in future surveys. There is a story or stories here that may reflect other trends in US society.