10 cities where millennials are moving – and 10 they are leaving
Millennials are increasingly putting down roots whether that is through buying a home, getting involved in their community or working with a local financial advisor to plan for the future. While less than 4% of millennials moved between states in 2021, new Census Bureau data shows that some cities in particular experienced significant increases and decreases in their millennial populations last year.
In this study, SmartAsset analyzed the cities where millennials are moving and leaving using the most recent Census Bureau data from 2021. We compared the number of people between the ages of 25 and 39 who moved into a city from a different state to the number of people who moved out of a city to a different state. For more information on our data and how we put it together, read our Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s sixth annual study on where millennials are moving. Read last year’s version here.
- Florida and Texas are becoming millennial hotspots. Four of the top 10 cities where millennials are moving are in the Lone Star and Sunshine States. The cities include Austin and Dallas in Texas and Jacksonville and Tampa in Florida.
- Seattle drops significantly in our rankings. Last year, Seattle was the second-ranking city where millennials were moving, with a net migration of almost 6,200. This year, there was a negative net migration of an estimated -670 millennials.
- New York City lost more than six times as many millennials as any other place. In 2021, there was a net migration of almost -79,800 millennials out of the Big Apple. Chicago is the next city where millennials are leaving at the highest rate, but its net migration clocks in at about -13,300.
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Austin, Denver lead list of most popular destinations for millennials
1. Austin, TX
Austin, Texas took the top spot this year, moving up from its fourth-placed ranking in last year’s edition of this study. In 2021, close to 24,000 millennials moved to Austin from a different state. With about 13,400 millennials moving out of Austin to a different state, there was a net migration of about 10,500.
2. Denver, CO
Millennials have flocked to Denver, Colorado in recent years. In 2019, there was a net migration of more than 10,900 millennials to the city, according to our findings. Though falling slightly in 2021, the net migration number still ranks as second-highest in our study, at 9,216.
3. Dallas, TX
The second Texas city in our top five, Dallas had a net migration of 6,339 millennials in 2021. Census Bureau data shows that 15,217 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 moved into the city from a different state while 8,878 individuals within that same age bracket moved out of the city.
4. Raleigh, NC
The millennial population in Raleigh, North Carolina grew by more than 3% in 2021. This was a product of a net migration of more than 3,900 millennials to the city.
5. Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville, Florida rounds out our list of the top five cities where millennials are moving with a net migration of 3,921 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 in 2021.
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Some of the biggest cities in the U.S. see most millennials moving out
1. New York, NY
America’s largest city—New York City—ranks as the top city where millennials are leaving. In 2021, about 55,400 millennials moved to the city while more than 135,100 young people left.
2. Chicago, IL
In 2021, about 23,200 millennials moved to Chicago from a different state while roughly 36,500 millennials moved out of the city to a different state. In total, there was a net migration of almost -13,300 millennials out of the city.
3. Washington, DC
The nation’s capital is the third-ranking city where millennials are leaving. Census Bureau data shows that last year, 21,776 millennials came to the city while an estimated 31,626 left the District of Columbia and moved elsewhere.
4. Boston, MA
There was a net migration of -6,702 millennials out of Boston, Massachusetts in 2021. Specifically, Census Bureau data shows that 12,471 individuals between the ages of 25 and 39 moved into the city from a different state while 19,173 individuals within that same age bracket moved out of the city.
5. Los Angeles, CA
Some of the more than -6,500 millennials who moved out of Los Angeles, California may be saving on housing costs. In our 2022 study, Los Angeles ranked as the city with the second-highest number of hours worked needed to pay rent, surpassed by only San Jose.
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Data and methodology
To find both the cities where millennials are moving and leaving, SmartAsset analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s 2021 1-Year American Community Survey.
We considered 152 of the largest cities in the U.S. for which data was available. We found net migration during 2021 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 were ranked by net migration.