Young adults today move more than previous generations. A recent Zillow study found that in 2017, close to one in two millennials – more than 45% – had lived in their current home for fewer than two years. By contrast, in 1960, approximately 34% of young adults had lived in their current residences for less than two years.
With the coronavirus pandemic potentially leading many millennials to reconsider where they live, SmartAsset decided to look at the states and cities where millennials have been moving prior to the crisis. Using the most recent Census Bureau data from 2018, we compared the number of people between the ages of 25 and 39 who moved into a state or city to the number of people who moved out. For more information on our data and how we put it together, check out our Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s fourth annual study on where millennials are moving. Read last year’s version here.
- Millennials tend to flock to states with no income tax. In the U.S., fewer than one in five states have no income tax. But half of the top 10 states where millennials are moving do not have a state income tax on salaries and wages. They include Texas, Washington, Florida, Nevada and Tennessee and rank as the first, second, fifth, eighth and 10th states, respectively, with the highest net migration of millennials in 2018.
- Three Texas cities rank in our top 10. Beyond the fact that Texas ranks as the top state where millennials are moving, three Texas cities also rank in our top 10 cities where millennials are moving. They include Austin, San Antonio and Houston. In 2018, more than 3,200 millennials moved to each of the three cities.
- Millennials are leaving New York state, especially the Big Apple. According to Census Bureau data, there was a net migration of almost 76,000 millennials out of New York state in 2018. This is the largest negative net migration of millennials from any U.S. state by far. California ranks as the second state where millennials are leaving the most, with a net of approximately 36,900 millennials leaving the state in 2018. When comparing cities, New York City ranks at the bottom of the list, with a net negative migration of more than 50,400 millennials out of the city in 2018.
States Where Millennials Are Moving
More than 192,200 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 moved to Texas in 2018, while only about 138,700 moved out of the state. In total, there was a net migration of about 53,600 millennials into the Lone Star state, the most of any state.
Washington State and Colorado followed behind Texas as the states to which the second- and third-highest numbers of millennials moved. According to 2018 Census data, there was a net migration of about 31,200 and 21,000 people between the ages of 25 and 39 to Washington and Colorado, respectively. In Washington, almost 100,000 millennials moved into the state during the year, and about 68,600 moved out. In Colorado, roughly 86,600 millennials moved to the state and about 65,600 moved to a different state.
Regionally, the Northeast is the least popular geographic area for millennials to relocate. Pennsylvania is the only Northeastern state in our top 10, with a net migration of about 9,939 millennials. Meanwhile, the other two Middle Atlantic states – New York and New Jersey – saw large number of millennials moving out in recent years. In 2018, about 160,600 and 70,000 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 moved out of New York and New Jersey, respectively.
Cities Where Millennials Are Moving
1. Seattle, WA
Seattle, Washington took the top spot this year, moving up from when it ranked second in last year’s edition of this study. In 2018, close to 27,000 millennials moved to Seattle from a different state. With about 15,700 millennials moving out of Seattle to a different state, there was a net migration of about 11,300 – which is 5,000 higher than the next city on the list.
2. Denver, CO
Along with many seniors moving to Denver, Colorado, millennials have flocked to the city in recent years. In 2018, there was a net migration of about 6,200 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39. If you are thinking about moving to the city, take a look at our guide, 19 Things You Need to Know About Moving to Denver.
3. Austin, TX
Many young millennials moved to Austin, Texas in 2018. More than 7,100 individuals between the ages of 25 and 29 moved into the city from a different state, while about 6,200 individuals between the ages of 30 and 34 also moved there. In total, more than 15,000 millennials moved to Austin in 2018 while fewer than 10,000 left.
4. San Antonio, TX
About 80 miles southwest of Austin, Texas’ San Antonio ranks as the fourth city to which millennials are moving the most. In 2018, 12,406 millennials moved to San Antonio from a different state, while 8,220 left the city and moved to a different state.
5. Charlotte, NC
Millennials have flocked to Charlotte, North Carolina in recent years. In 2017, there was a net migration of more than 5,000 millennials to the city, according to our findings. Though falling slightly in 2018, the net migration number still ranks as the fifth-highest in our study, at 3,808.
6. Houston, TX
The third Texas city in our top 10, Houston had a high number of millennials moving both into and out of the city in 2018. Specifically, 18,548 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 moved into the city from a different state, while 15,313 individuals within that same age bracket moved out of the city.
If you recently moved to Houston and are looking for help managing your money, take a look at our list of the top financial advisors in the area here.
7. Nashville, TN
Some of the more than 13,000 millennials who moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2018 may be saving on housing costs. In our 2020 study, Nashville, Tennessee ranked as the 10th city where living with a roommate could save you the most.
8. Phoenix, AZ
More than 6,500 people between the ages of 25 and 29 moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2018 from a different state. Additionally, close to 4,300 30- to 34-year-olds and more than 3,900 35- to 39-year-olds moved to the city. In total, about 14,800 millennials moved to Phoenix from a different state in 2018, while about 11,900 left the city. As such, there was a net migration during the year of close to 2,900 millennials.
9. Paradise, NV
Part of Clark County, Paradise, Nevada is adjacent to Las Vegas. In 2018, more than 1,500 individuals between the ages of 30 and 34 moved to the city. In total, close to 4,100 millennials moved to the city from a different state in 2018. With fewer than 1,300 millennials leaving the city in the same year, there was a net migration of about 2,800 millennials.
10. Columbus, OH
Ohio’s capital, Columbus, rounds out our list of the top 10 cities where millennials are moving, with a net migration of 2,733 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 in 2018. Millennials may be interested in moving to Columbus because housing costs are generally more reasonable there than in many other large U.S. cities. In our 2019 study, Columbus, Ohio ranked as the ninth city where renters can most easily afford to live alone.
Cities Millennials Are Leaving
America’s largest city – New York, New York – ranks as the top city millennials are leaving. In 2018, about 48,600 millennials moved to the city, while more than 99,000 individuals between the same ages left.
The populous cities of Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. follow behind New York City, though the magnitudes of net migrations of the cities are much smaller. In 2018, about 26,400 millennials moved into Chicago from a different state, while roughly 34,300 millennials moved out of the city to a different state. Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, 19,866 millennials came to the city while more than 25,200 left the District of Columbia and moved elsewhere.
Data and Methodology
To find both the states and cities where millennials are moving, SmartAsset analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s 2018 1-year American Community Survey.
To determine the states where millennials are moving, we calculated net migration by taking the number of people between the ages of 25 and 39 who moved into a state minus the number of people that age who moved out of the state. States are ranked in order from those with the highest net migration to those with the lowest net migration.
To determine the cities where millennials are moving, we considered 205 of the largest cities in the U.S. for which data was available. We found net migration during 2018 in each city by subtracting the number of people between the ages of 25 and 39 who moved out of the city to a different state from the number of people in the same age group who moved into the city from a different state. Cities with the highest net migration ranked the highest, and vice versa. We shifted the age range for millennials from 20 to 34 years old last year to 25 to 39 years old this year to account for the aging of this demographic.
Saving Tips for Millennials
- Invest early. At the onset of your career, it is important to dedicate some of your earnings to building up savings for retirement. By planning and saving early you can take advantage of compound interest. Take a look at our investment calculator to see how your investment can grow over time.
- Buy or rent? – When you’re moving to a new city, you need to decide if you are going to rent or buy. If you are coming to a city and plan to stay for the long haul, buying may be the better option for you. On the other hand, if your stop in a new city will be a short one, you’ll likely want to rent.
- Consider a financial advisor. Another great way to plan for retirement is through a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money and keep you on track in terms of your saving. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard though. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Questions about our study? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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