February 24, 2024
Where Gen Z is Heading - 2023 Study | SmartAsset


Gen Z is young, many of whom are still under the age of 18. For those 18-24 years old, many are leaving to attend college, start their careers, or explore life in a new place. Although this group may not have the disposable income of their older counterparts, their movement still plays an important role in local economies. An asymmetric move could affect demand for goods, services and infrastructure as well as local job and housing markets.

With this in mind, SmartAsset decided to determine where Gen Zers are moving to most of America’s 268 largest cities. Cities are ranked based on the number of people aged 18 to 24 who moved in 2022, as a percentage of the total population.

key findings

  • One in four new Gen Z people in Ann Arbor, MI has an implant. Ann Arbor – a college town that also has the highest rate of people with graduate degrees – has the highest rate of influx of Gen Zers. About 31,400 people aged 18–24 moved to the city in 2022. Overall, Gen Z constitutes just about 36% of the population.
  • In Provo, UT, 42% of the population is aged 18–24. Ranked second only to the rate at which Gen Zers are moving to Provo, the city attracts people both from within Utah and from outside the state. About 27,500 Gen Zers moved here in 2022.
  • Boulder, CO had the highest rates of Gen Zers moving from the suburbs to the city. Of the approximately 25,000 new Gen Z residents, more than 14,000 moved to the city from within Boulder County. At 13.7%, it has the highest rate of people aged 18–24 migrating to a city from the same county.
  • Gen Zers move to College Station in the largest numbers in Texas. The city ranks fourth overall for the highest rate of arrival of Gen Zers, and the majority of young newcomers come exclusively from within Texas. Of the new 27,000 Gen Z residents, less than 2,000 come from outside the state.
  • Berkeley, CA received the highest rates of Gen Z movers from overseas. Just over 13% of the new Gen Zers came from abroad, or 2,466 people. Overall, 18,699 people in this age group moved in 2022, putting Berkeley in seventh place overall.

Top 10 Cities Where Gen Z Is Moving

  1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Ann Arbor was the top destination for Gen Zers in 2022, welcoming 31,394 new young residents. This influx represents 26.4% of its population, with Gen Z making up 35.9% of the city as a whole.
  2. Provo, Utah
    Provo attracted 27,523 Gen Z transplants last year, comprising about 25% of its population. Overall, Gen Zers now make up a significant 42.4% of Provo’s total demographic.
  1. Boulder, Colorado
    Boulder saw 25,028 Gen Z newcomers in 2022, making up 23.9% of its population. This surge has led to Gen Zers making up 33.2% of Boulder’s population.
  1. College Station, Texas
    College Station had an influx of 27,247 Gen Z individuals, representing 22.2% of the city’s population. Overall, Gen Z now accounts for 39.2% of the population here.
  1. Athens, Georgia
    Athens became home to 22,213 new Gen Z residents last year, accounting for 17.4% of its total population. Gen Zers now comprise 27.7% of Athens residents.
  1. Tallahassee, Florida
    Tallahassee welcomes 34,570 Gen Z transplants in 2022, contributing 17.4% of its total population. Gen Zers now total 29.5% of the city’s total residents.
  1. berkeley, california
    Berkeley attracted 18,699 new Gen Z residents, or 15.8% of its population. Gen Z individuals now make up 26.5% of Berkeley’s total population.
  1. Gainesville, Florida
    Gainesville sees 22,262 Gen Z newcomers in 2022, or 15.4% of its population. This influx has led to Gen Zers making up approximately 35.0% of Gainesville’s residents.
  1. Columbia, South Carolina
    Colombia was home to 20,778 Gen Z individuals, representing 15.1% of its total population. Overall, Gen Z now accounts for 25.9% of Colombia.
  1. Syracuse, New York
    Syracuse welcomed 19,664 new Gen Z residents in 2022, or 13.8% of the population – putting Gen Z at 19.6% of the total.

Data and methodology

Data comes from the US Census Bureau 1-Year American Community Survey for 2022. The study included 268 cities that had data available and 100,000 or more people aged 1 or older. Gen Z was defined as people aged 18 to 24. Cities were ranked based on the percentage of the total population represented by Gen Zers who moved to the city in 2022.

tips for walking

  • Consider cost of living and taxes. Federal, state and local taxes will all affect your paycheck. You can check your net pay at various locations with SmartAsset’s paycheck calculator.
  • Account for upfront relocation costs. Leave extra room in the budget for new furniture and moving expenses. You may have more negotiating power when securing housing if you look for off-peak rentals or during sales season.
  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be difficult. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be difficult. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with three verified financial advisors serving your area, and you can have a free introductory call with one of their advisors to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at [email protected]

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