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Where Gen Z is Moving in 2020

Generation Z are quickly entering the workfoce and moving across the country. Just as millennials entered the workforce nearly a decade ago and reshuffled the country’s biggest population center, Gen Z is poised to do the same in the next 5 to 10 years. In these cities, Gen Z is beginning to take over.

Cities With Biggest Influx of Gen Z

One commonality of where Gen Z is moving is that they are going to smaller to mid-sized cities where the cost of living is cheaper. The only large metro areas which saw an increase in Gen Z population were Boston and Phoenix which ranked 96 and 56 respectively. In fact the average population of the ten cities that saw the largest Gen Z growth was around 304,000.

Here are the top cities where Gen Z is moving in 2020:

Lynchburg, VA

Lynchburg is Virginia’s 5th largest metro area, as well as America’s fastest growing Gen Z stronghold.The city of 260,000 can likely thank its Gen Z population growth to the numerous universities in the city. The reasonable cost of living also makes this smallish city an ideal place for Gen Zers to start their careers.

green plant in front of white concrete building during daytime

Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metro Area

Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the Huntington-Ashland metro area is the biggest in the region with Huntington being West Virginia’s second biggest city. Despite an overall population decline of 2.7% since 2015, this area has seen a 3.6% increase in its Gen Z population, making it the 2nd biggest city for Gen Z growth in the country.

Downtown Huntington WV | Virginia travel, West virginia travel ...

Trenton, NJ

The capital of New Jersey is often overshadowed by Newark and near by neighbor Philadelphia. This mid-sized city however is becoming a hot bed for Gen Z which has seen a 4.3% increase in its population despite its overall population declining by 0.8%.

Trenton, NJ | Official Website

San Luis Obispo, CA

Situated nearly equidistant from San Francisco and Los Angeles, this nearly 300 year old city has seen its Gen Z population boom in the past several years. The town has seen its Gen Z population grow by nearly 5% compared to just a 0.5% growth in the rest of its population. The city’s Gen Z growth may in part be due to Cal Poly being near the city.

two women having picnic facing mountain and buildings during golden hour

Kalamazoo, MI

This city home to several universities has seen its Gen Z population grow by 4.4% since 2015. In comparison, the rest of its population has only grown by 1% in that same time – making it have the 5th highest growth of any large metro are. In comparison, Detroit has seen a loss in 5.2% of it’s Gen Z population in that time.

Places to Retire: Kalamazoo, Michigan - Hallmark Living Kalamazoo

List of All Cities Where Gen Z is Growing

Geographic Area NameGen Z Pop 2018Total 2018 PopulationGen Z Pop 2015Total 2015 PopulationGen Z Change from 2015Rest of Population Change Since 2015Difference
Lynchburg, VA Metro Area25,182265,40521,087260,50419.40%0.30%19%
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metro Area23,999352,82323,172361,5803.60%-2.70%6%
Trenton, NJ Metro Area29,475369,81128,270371,3984.30%-0.80%5%
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA Metro Area30,716284,01029,391281,4014.50%0.50%4%
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI Metro Area36,318340,31834,777335,3404.40%1.00%3%
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metro Area54,762842,91352,693832,3273.90%1.00%3%
Salem, OR Metro Area31,624432,10229,456410,0917.40%4.80%3%
Fayetteville, NC Metro Area35,609387,09433,991376,5094.80%2.40%2%
Port St. Lucie, FL Metro Area24,729482,04022,935454,8467.80%5.60%2%
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA Metro Area21,403269,80520,289260,1315.50%3.30%2%
Jackson, MS Metro Area40,134583,08039,198578,5612.40%0.60%2%
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO Metro Area42,998553,79539,751515,4038.20%6.80%1%
Lexington-Fayette, KY Metro Area47,751516,69745,833500,5354.20%2.80%1%
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Metro Area29,240436,34129,332443,708-0.30%-1.60%1%
Winston-Salem, NC Metro Area40,585671,45639,452659,3302.90%1.70%1%
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metro Area70,374883,16969,666881,8301.00%0.10%1%
Knoxville, TN Metro Area65,330882,59863,383861,6793.10%2.20%1%
Manchester-Nashua, NH Metro Area26,775415,24726,139406,6782.40%2.00%0%
Ann Arbor, MI Metro Area48,404370,96346,943358,8803.10%3.00%0%
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metro Area59,920943,82360,137948,053-0.40%-0.40%0%
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI Metro Area79,3361,069,40577,1961,038,5832.80%2.80%0%
Gainesville, FL Metro Area39,612288,71138,253276,8813.60%3.80%0%
Provo-Orem, UT Metro Area78,869632,70573,987585,2576.60%7.30%-1%
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metro Area64,779906,62663,184874,8692.50%3.40%-1%
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area143,4052,189,442142,9602,159,3290.30%1.40%-1%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro Area348,0734,875,390344,9894,774,3210.90%2.10%-1%
Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area85,3691,222,54082,8601,170,2663.00%4.30%-1%
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Metro Area21,990380,10622,541384,584-2.40%-1.00%-1%
Syracuse, NY Metro Area47,158650,50248,613660,458-3.00%-1.30%-2%
Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metro Area68,6161,151,80169,4071,145,647-1.10%0.60%-2%
Ogden-Clearfield, UT Metro Area45,591676,94844,211644,0303.10%4.90%-2%
Springfield, MA Metro Area57,983631,76159,017631,982-1.80%0.10%-2%
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metro Area37,482574,65937,594565,006-0.30%1.70%-2%
Laredo, TX Metro Area21,805275,91021,759269,7210.20%2.30%-2%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metro Area318,1824,857,962306,6514,574,5313.80%5.90%-2%
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area65,787865,93965,437842,3040.50%2.80%-2%
Akron, OH Metro Area51,975704,84553,033704,243-2.00%0.20%-2%
Madison, WI Metro Area61,527660,42261,125641,3850.70%2.90%-2%
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area38,591655,40937,544622,8992.80%5.10%-2%
Waco, TX Metro Area27,320270,56627,115262,4250.80%3.00%-2%
Wichita, KS Metro Area42,457645,03143,396644,502-2.20%0.20%-2%
Reading, PA Metro Area27,433420,15227,763415,271-1.20%1.30%-2%
Wilmington, NC Metro Area25,490294,43624,707277,9693.20%5.60%-2%
Austin-Round Rock, TX Metro Area150,1722,168,316142,4592,000,8605.40%8.00%-3%
Modesto, CA Metro Area37,796549,81537,987538,388-0.50%2.20%-3%
Duluth, MN-WI Metro Area22,878278,79923,546279,601-2.80%0.00%-3%
Greensboro-High Point, NC Metro Area50,965767,71151,316752,157-0.70%2.10%-3%
New Haven-Milford, CT Metro Area58,809857,62060,520859,470-2.80%0.00%-3%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area219,9063,629,190219,6933,524,5830.10%3.00%-3%
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX Metro Area30,836423,90831,614422,156-2.50%0.60%-3%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area123,3521,999,107125,9401,976,836-2.10%1.30%-3%
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL Metro Area42,694708,00940,642650,0925.00%8.60%-4%
Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metro Area126,2882,057,009130,9752,060,810-3.60%0.00%-4%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area490,3107,540,371479,1037,102,1652.30%6.00%-4%
York-Hanover, PA Metro Area25,909448,27326,531442,867-2.30%1.40%-4%
Tucson, AZ Metro Area89,7561,039,07390,5331,010,025-0.90%3.00%-4%
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metro Area59,607941,92460,133915,557-0.90%2.90%-4%
Lincoln, NE Metro Area36,070333,96436,291323,557-0.60%3.30%-4%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area393,5466,251,240398,9756,098,283-1.40%2.60%-4%
Peoria, IL Metro Area22,059368,68323,418376,987-5.80%-1.80%-4%
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metro Area32,511538,95234,456549,885-5.60%-1.60%-4%
Reno, NV Metro Area30,596471,26530,513451,1380.30%4.40%-4%
Eugene, OR Metro Area35,226379,61135,132362,8950.30%4.60%-4%
Worcester, MA-CT Metro Area64,256947,86666,134935,536-2.80%1.50%-4%
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metro Area36,618754,61035,563701,9823.00%7.30%-4%
Salisbury, MD-DE Metro Area27,093409,97927,267395,300-0.60%3.80%-4%
Pittsburgh, PA Metro Area135,3322,324,743142,9302,353,045-5.30%-0.90%-4%
El Paso, TX Metro Area69,608844,72372,036838,019-3.40%1.10%-4%
College Station-Bryan, TX Metro Area45,843265,02445,274250,1451.30%5.70%-4%
Canton-Massillon, OH Metro Area23,820398,65525,137402,976-5.20%-0.70%-4%
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metro Area84,1711,206,30088,2401,211,324-4.60%-0.10%-5%
Salinas, CA Metro Area31,653435,59432,940433,898-3.90%0.70%-5%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metro Area385,0065,950,828386,3965,709,731-0.40%4.20%-5%
Columbus, OH Metro Area134,0592,106,541134,5792,021,632-0.40%4.20%-5%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area142,4982,478,996143,7332,390,244-0.90%3.80%-5%
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metro Area98,7521,576,113103,2561,575,747-4.40%0.30%-5%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metro Area127,9932,048,428130,2311,988,152-1.70%3.10%-5%
Albuquerque, NM Metro Area58,527916,79160,651906,209-3.50%1.40%-5%
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metro Area39,872605,90340,800590,772-2.30%2.70%-5%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro Area177,4622,802,789185,9732,797,407-4.60%0.50%-5%
Dayton, OH Metro Area53,302806,54855,634800,909-4.20%1.00%-5%
Boise City, ID Metro Area44,639732,25743,392675,8002.90%8.20%-5%
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX Metro Area27,175410,23328,493408,216-4.60%0.80%-5%
Toledo, OH Metro Area46,585602,87149,312605,956-5.50%-0.10%-5%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area617,4349,497,790654,8819,550,108-5.70%-0.20%-6%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metro Area169,7622,932,415171,9772,814,330-1.30%4.30%-6%
Lubbock, TX Metro Area37,728319,99538,838312,433-2.90%2.80%-6%
Raleigh, NC Metro Area83,9461,362,54082,9721,273,5681.20%6.90%-6%
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Metro Area35,706659,60535,689623,2790.00%5.80%-6%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area174,7433,142,663175,0122,975,225-0.20%5.60%-6%
Richmond, VA Metro Area80,0891,303,62182,6041,271,142-3.00%2.80%-6%
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metro Area47,576446,52750,015444,769-4.90%0.90%-6%
Spartanburg, SC Metro Area22,010341,29822,185325,079-0.80%5.00%-6%
Chattanooga, TN-GA Metro Area35,461558,70336,694546,351-3.40%2.50%-6%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metro Area361,6116,198,782371,2696,012,331-2.60%3.30%-6%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area387,9116,096,372408,7466,069,875-5.10%0.80%-6%
Mobile, AL Metro Area27,026413,75728,736415,395-6.00%0.00%-6%
Tulsa, OK Metro Area60,550993,92863,353980,794-4.40%1.60%-6%
St. Louis, MO-IL Metro Area169,3612,804,724180,0642,812,313-5.90%0.10%-6%
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metro Area112,1951,621,337118,3281,613,070-5.20%0.90%-6%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metro Area263,7814,326,442278,3124,302,043-5.20%0.90%-6%
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metro Area45,532575,41246,423552,493-1.90%4.30%-6%
Flint, MI Metro Area25,197406,89227,067410,849-6.90%-0.50%-6%
Stockton-Lodi, CA Metro Area51,560752,66052,928726,106-2.60%3.80%-6%
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area1,261,82219,979,4771,359,05320,182,305-7.20%-0.50%-7%
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA Metro Area159,0812,345,210164,5012,274,194-3.30%3.40%-7%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metro Area173,0422,518,036174,6532,381,828-0.90%5.80%-7%
Clarksville, TN-KY Metro Area27,557290,74528,286279,887-2.60%4.10%-7%
Asheville, NC Metro Area24,602459,58525,536446,840-3.70%3.10%-7%
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metro Area50,634741,35753,213730,250-4.80%1.90%-7%
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metro Area36,417821,57336,389768,9180.10%6.80%-7%
Fort Wayne, IN Metro Area27,244437,63128,583429,820-4.70%2.10%-7%
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area57,191850,96761,051850,536-6.30%0.50%-7%
Oklahoma City, OK Metro Area96,9971,396,445100,7861,358,452-3.80%3.10%-7%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area332,7354,622,361345,3074,489,159-3.60%3.20%-7%
Columbia, SC Metro Area67,345833,16570,016810,574-3.80%3.10%-7%
Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metro Area88,5811,350,06494,2641,343,572-6.00%0.90%-7%
Lancaster, PA Metro Area33,386543,55735,266536,624-5.30%1.60%-7%
Springfield, MO Metro Area39,954468,12641,526455,074-3.80%3.20%-7%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area451,0186,997,384459,3626,656,946-1.80%5.20%-7%
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area74,9811,296,81579,2491,279,335-5.40%1.70%-7%
Visalia-Porterville, CA Metro Area32,982465,86135,001459,863-5.80%1.70%-8%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Metro Area265,6214,729,484281,6334,656,132-5.70%1.90%-8%
Rochester, NY Metro Area72,5551,071,08278,9141,081,954-8.10%-0.40%-8%
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA Metro Area26,705274,25528,716274,146-7.00%0.80%-8%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area911,60513,291,486986,38013,340,068-7.60%0.20%-8%
Kansas City, MO-KS Metro Area123,0352,142,419129,4672,088,269-5.00%2.90%-8%
Fort Collins, CO Metro Area35,528350,51836,483333,577-2.60%5.40%-8%
Lafayette, LA Metro Area31,983489,36434,651490,488-7.70%0.30%-8%
Santa Rosa, CA Metro Area27,975499,94230,476502,146-8.20%0.10%-8%
Bakersfield, CA Metro Area65,981896,76470,292882,176-6.10%2.10%-8%
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI Metro Area22,681322,42424,408320,098-7.10%1.30%-8%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metro Area152,9162,569,213156,6152,426,363-2.40%6.00%-8%
Lansing-East Lansing, MI Metro Area49,391481,89352,424472,276-5.80%2.70%-8%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area238,7253,939,363245,7583,733,580-2.90%5.70%-9%
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metro Area252,4623,343,364270,5613,299,521-6.70%1.90%-9%
Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area58,482738,93959,971697,856-2.50%6.10%-9%
Boulder, CO Metro Area32,819326,07834,972319,372-6.20%2.80%-9%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metro Area134,3382,231,647139,0752,114,801-3.40%5.70%-9%
Jacksonville, FL Metro Area90,8011,534,70193,7931,449,481-3.20%6.10%-9%
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA Metro Area32,275555,48535,544558,166-9.20%0.10%-9%
New Orleans-Metairie, LA Metro Area73,4921,270,39980,2011,262,888-8.40%1.10%-9%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metro Area171,0322,572,962174,1162,387,138-1.80%7.90%-10%
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS Metro Area25,844397,26127,849389,255-7.20%2.60%-10%
Corpus Christi, TX Metro Area29,557452,92732,380450,436-8.70%1.20%-10%
Killeen-Temple, TX Metro Area39,480451,68141,416430,642-4.70%5.30%-10%
Baton Rouge, LA Metro Area66,675831,31073,406830,480-9.20%0.90%-10%
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metro Area36,299573,52738,242546,807-5.10%5.20%-10%
Portland-South Portland, ME Metro Area29,112535,42031,775526,295-8.40%2.20%-11%
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metro Area123,3891,932,099129,6091,830,298-4.80%5.90%-11%
Huntsville, AL Metro Area27,616462,69329,496444,752-6.40%4.50%-11%
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metro Area29,728596,84931,457568,088-5.50%5.40%-11%
Columbus, GA-AL Metro Area21,454307,14924,348312,936-11.90%-0.90%-11%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metro Area136,2561,729,114151,2091,723,351-9.90%1.20%-11%
Merced, CA Metro Area20,849274,76522,750268,455-8.40%3.10%-11%
Charleston-North Charleston, SC Metro Area48,115787,64350,880744,526-5.40%6.20%-12%
Fresno, CA Metro Area70,459994,40077,535974,861-9.10%2.70%-12%
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA Metro Area27,916446,61030,743436,092-9.20%3.10%-12%
Tallahassee, FL Metro Area50,384387,45555,190378,593-8.70%3.60%-12%
Urban Honolulu, HI Metro Area69,267980,08079,865998,714-13.30%-0.80%-12%
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY Metro Area70,3461,130,15280,3481,135,230-12.40%0.40%-13%
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL Metro Area35,192494,88338,719478,043-9.10%4.30%-13%
Montgomery, AL Metro Area23,347373,40127,049375,435-13.70%0.40%-14%
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC Metro Area22,698480,89123,461431,964-3.30%11.50%-15%
Savannah, GA Metro Area27,346389,49431,211379,199-12.40%3.70%-16%
Anchorage, AK Metro Area27,033399,14835,145399,790-23.10%1.90%-25%

Data and Methodology

We determined where Gen Z is growing the most by looking at the U.S. Census American Community Survey 2018 One-Year Estimates and then at the U.S. Census American Community Survey 2015 One Year Estimates. We looked specifically at where the 18-24 year population (Gen Z) increased the most relative to the total population. In some cases the Gen Z population may have grown, but the regular population grew the same amount. We are looking specifically for cities where just the Gen Z population is growing.

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