Skip to content

The 10 Cities Millennials Are Flocking To

Who knew that Virginia is such a youth person hotbed?

There are currently around 71 million millennials living in America, and by next year, they are expected to surpass Baby Boomers and become the dominant generation in the country. As such, there's been a lot of interest lately in how this age group has been changing cultural norms. Millennials today are not only marrying later in life but also dating for much longer than their parents did before getting engaged, thanks in part to a revolutionary new approach to the purpose of tying the knot. Compared to their parents, today's young adults are also more interested in experiences than material objects, preferring to spend their money on fitness vacations and avocado toast instead of buying porcelain china or saving up for retirement, as well as eschewing start homes.

Thanks to this carpe diem approach to life, as well as student debt and high rent, many millennials are choosing to settle down in smaller cities, where they can enjoy a better quality of life for a lot less money than a major metropolis. Once upon a time, college grads with big dreams would pack their bags and go straight to San Francisco or New York City. Now, according to a new assessment by SmartAsset, New York City has become the least popular place for millennials looking to relocate.

The finance company compared 2016 Census Bureau migration data for 217 cities and all 50 states to figure out which cities are the most popular among millennials today. They then compared the number of people aged 20 to 34 leaving to the amount moving there, and ranked the cities based on the highest difference between the two. You can check out their results below. And for more amazing facts about American cities, check out The 20 Best Cities to Get Married.

Virginia Beach, VA

Chick's Beach Virginia

This was was a bit of an outlier, since the beachside community is generally considered an escape for retirees (and, indeed, it was recently ranked as one of the 50 best cities in America to spend you golden years). But 19, 122 millennials moved here, and only 14, 138 left. Not to mention,  nearly 12,00 of those Millennials migrated to this seaside city from out of state, which is part of what got this newcomer a top spot on the list.

Norfolk, VA

Norfolk, longest-living cities, wharf, boats

More than 18,000 millennials moved to Norfolk in 2016, while 13,606 decided to leave, so it's still got a solid place in the lineup. But it's fallen from fifth place in last year's ranking, since it's net influx of just under 5,000 millennials was lower than last year, indicating that its appeal might be waning a bit.

Denver, CO

Denver, happiest cities, drunkest cities, fittest cities, best singles scenes, flip a house, rent, property

This popular city nestled in the Rocky Mountains received 5,100 more millennials than it lost in 2016, bumping it up from ninth place last year to its new spot in eighth. After all, Denver is one of the healthiest cities in America, as well as one of the fittest, so it's no surprise it's been attracting today's health-obsessed youths.

San Jose, CA

San Jose, happiest cities, fittest cities, healthiest cities, worst singles scenes, flip a house, rent, property, best sports fans

More people moved to San Jose from within California than outside of it, but it's a pretty big state. And the fact remains that the city received 19, 943 millennials in 2016, and only lost 14,447. Perhaps its recent ranking as the happiest city in America had something to do with it?

Newport News, VA

Newport News, longest-living cities, arch

Who knew Virginia was becoming a booming state for young adults looking to settle down? The third Virginia city on this list, Newport News experienced a net migration of 5,667 Millennials, which is especially impressive because the number represents 3 percent of the small city's overall population.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, fattest cities, drunkest cities, flip a house, rent, property, best job opportunities, sleepless cities, best sports fans

Florida has no income tax, and Jacksonville residents are some of the least taxed in the country, which is why it's considered one of the most tax-friendly cities in America. It's no wonder that it's becoming increasingly attractive to budget-conscious millennials, 23,327 of whom moved here in 2017. Plus, who doesn't want to live in good weather all year around, with easy access to the beach?

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, happiest cities, drunkest cities, fittest cities, longest-living cities, healthiest cities, best singles scenes, house flip, rent, property, best sports fans

Minnesota got special mention in a recent ranking of states based by longevity, as it was deemed to be the state where you are most likely to have the longest and healthiest life. Perhaps that's why 21,758 millennials decided to make Minneapolis their new home in 2016.

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, happiest cities, fittest cities, rent, property, best job opportunities, sleepless cities, best sports fans

Like San Jose, Sacramento saw an especially large influx of Millennials from within the state. After all, why suffer in a cramped space with seven roommates in San Francisco when you can get a 2-bedroom apartment in a brand-new building for only $2,000 a month in the California capital? No wonder around 10,000 millennials came to Sacramento from elsewhere in California, while only 5,600 left Sacramento for another part of California.

Columbia, SC

Columbia, fattest cities, drunkest cities, best singles scenes, best cities to buy a mansion

This Southern gem attracted 6,900 more millennials than it lost, and around around 8,000 of the 13,352 who moved there came from out of state.

Seattle, WA

Seattle, happiest cities, drunkest cities, fittest cities, best singles scenes, flip a house, longest commutes, commute, rent, property, best sports fans

Washington received the largest influx of millennials, in part no doubt because it doesn't have any income tax. It seems like the ones who moved there are pretty happy as well, as the state gained nearly 40,000 more millennials than it lost. The bulk of them migrated to Seattle, which welcomed nearly nearly 30,000 millennials in 2016, and only lost 22,000. It's an impressive number when you consider the fact that Seattle only has an estimated population of around 700,000.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!  

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
Filed Under