16 Cities Gen Z is Choosing Over Anywhere Else

Gabrielle Reeder

Gainesville, Florida

As a proud Gen Zer, I can attest that we worry about making rent and paying bills on a daily basis. We strive to find a habitable place to put down our roots while making sure that the selected location aligns with our values. The following list pulls research from a study conducted by the Census, pointing out the most popular choices Gen Z moved to in 2022, in no particular order. 

1. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado
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Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder, Colorado stands proud, inviting locals and newcomers to bask in the natural beauty of the rocky terrain. Boulder lands on the pricier side of housing, but it appeals to a vast range of folk, making it a desirable place to begin a life. With multiple mountain offerings, biking, hiking, and ziplining, to the bustling art scene and the collegiate community, Boulder lures in the Gen Z crowd for the long run.

2. Syracuse, New York

Syracuse, NY
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Cemented on the Erie Canal and housing the popular Erie Canal Museum, Syracuse invites visitors and residents to explore the metropolitan area with its rich natural parks, gorgeous downtown architecture, and delicious dining scene. Syracuse University draws a fair portion of Gen Zers to the city thanks to fantastic athletics and academics—Syracuse's housing costs less than other areas in New York, causing a moving surge. 

3. Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville, Florida
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Gainesville, Florida, is a college town at heart. The University of Florida, go Gators (!) resides in the landlocked Floridian destination. Most of Gainesville's offerings live on the campus, encouraging the community to involve themselves in the school scene. Two main attractions on the campus, The Florida Museum of Natural History and the Butterfly Rainforest, both provide excellent insight into Florida's wildlife and environmental importance. Right now, the cost of living in Florida startles a good portion of its residents, but Gainesville housing costs remain on the lower side compared to other Floridian cities.

4. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor
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The University of Michigan is the centerfold of Ann Arbor. If you've caught on, the majority of cities attracting Gen Z people are college towns. Each year, the colleges draw a hefty amount of students to the location. After a few years of schooling, a fraction of them remain in the city or return to their alma mater's hometown. For Ann Arbor, residents enjoy The University of Michigan Museum of Art, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, the jaw-dropping architectural marvel of the university, and a gathering of spectacular parks. 

5. Provo Utah

Provo, Utah
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Brigham Young University welcomes its nearly 35,000 students each year into the religious institution. One does not need to belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to attend the school, but the university built its foundation upon that religion, so it asks students to respect the holy practice. Snow-capped mountain peaks linger in the background, providing Provo with an idyllic western feel. Stop by Brigham Young University's Paleontology Museum for a look into the fossilized preservation of extinct species before heading to Provo Canyon for a riveting river rafting ride down the Provo River.

6. College Station, Texas

college station texas
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No colleges exist in College Station, Texas. Haha, I'm kidding. Texas A&M University draws thousands to the happening university town, nicknamed Aggieland. People interested in US history revel in Texas A&M's George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which features displays of the Oval Office and a part of the Berlin Wall. The town is not considered a major Texas hotspot, which benefits the pockets of those living there. Residents pay less to live in proximity to the larger Texan towns. The community relishes its suburban lifestyle outside of the bigger cities. Each resident may take a day trip to the metropolises when hankering to scratch that big city itch.

7. Berkeley, California

Berkeley, CA
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Berkeley, California, summons people across the San Francisco Bay for a chance to enroll in the University of California Berkeley or bask in the diverse city's beauty. Spend one day admiring the outdoor attractions like the parks and the marina, witnessing the marvel of the environment in conjunction with mother nature, and spend the next day dipping into markets. The expert culinary and wine scene spread throughout Berkeley. This Bay Area location maintains a lower cost of living than San Francisco but higher than Los Angeles.

8. Athens, Georgia

Athens, Georgia
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Athens, Georgia, resembles any gorgeous cinematography with a supposed southern setting surrounded by a monumental university: The University of Georgia. Pink sunsets paint canvases behind Athens' prominent mixture of neoclassical and Greek revival architecture, transporting citizens back a few centuries. Live music fills the downtown air, entrancing any passersby. A popular legend to visit is The Tree That Owns Itself. This tree possesses property rights to its base and branches. Affordable housing costs entice curious homeowners searching for a new city to call home.

9. Madison, Wisconsin

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Moving to Wisconsin? Why not choose the capital of the Badger State? Many recognize Madison by its state capital building, a dome-like structure of legislation. Madison, Wisconsin's expansive museum list includes the Mustard Museum for those interested in the history and display of the yellow condiment. Another fascinating museum in Madison is the Geology Museum on the University of Madison-Wisconsin's campus, the UW–Madison Geology Museum, which stresses the importance of research and education to the public. 

10. Eugene, Oregon

Eugene, Oregon
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Oregon is a picture-perfect place to live for someone wanting a blend of environmental practices, stunning scenery, populous nightlife, and a close-knit community. The University of Oregon's campus lives in Eugene, which, of course, brings flocks of younger residents to the Pacific Northwestern haven. It's like Portland for people who don't want to pay Portland prices. Cyclists love Eugene for the ample bike paths of striking scenery along the Willamette River. Runners adore Mount Pisgah, a mountainous trail leading to a legendary outlook.

11. Tallahassee, Florida

Tallahassee, Fl
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The landlocked capital of Florida rivals the other Floridian city on this list due to the competition between Gainesville's University of Florida Gators and Florida State University's Seminoles in Tallahassee. A few other smaller colleges occupy Tallahassee, such as Florida A&M and Tallahassee Community College, drawing more Gen Z individuals. Loads of interested homeowners choose Tallahassee because its location matches affordable housing costs. The town resides 20 miles away from the beach, elevating its status above Gainesville's 100-mile trek to the water. 

12. Fargo, North Dakota 

Fargo, North Dakota
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North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, accepts around 15,000 students annually to the revered science school. Around this school, students and inhabitants of the city of North Dakota tend to visit the various museums based around the Red River valley. Aspiring pilots appreciate the Fargo Air Museum with its highlighted aircraft displays. Artists purchase tickets to the Plains Art Museum gallery that showcases an amalgam of artistic mediums from sculptures to pottery. North Dakota's cost of living rests on teh lower scale of the US. Nonetheless, North Dakota remains far from a lot of places, which deters some, but not all, from living in the midwestern state.

13. Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Twenty minutes away from Boston, Cambridge, Massachusetts, entices the smartest Gen Z crowd with the prestigious promises of Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Harvard dominates the Cambridge scene accompanied by Harvard Square, The Harvard Museum of Natural History, and the Harvard Art Museums: a collection of three artistic escapades:  Fogg Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, and Arthur M. Sackler Museum. The Charles River, which separates Cambridge from its Bostonian brother, adds to the New England scenery that the residents treasure.

14. Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, SC
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Two universities, the University of South Carolina and the legal branch, the University of South Carolina School of Law, captivate around 35,0000 students each academic year. Within this capital city, the South Carolina State Museum teaches patrons about the Palmetto State while the South Carolina Military Museum informs customers of the military influence on the state. Outside, stroll through the ample nature parks or gaze at the fountains and towering buildings of Soda City.

15. Norman, Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma
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During the fall, leaves turn from a vibrant green to a cardinal-colored red, signaling the shifting seasons. University of Oklahoma students pack up their bags, heading out for a brisk walk at Lake Thunderbird State Park or a show at the Sooner Theatre. The  National Weather Museum and Science Center highlights the impacts of natural disasters, stressing precautionary behavior. The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History pinpoints organic occurrences within the Southwestern state.

16. Tempe, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona
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Tempe, Arizona, home range of the Arizona State University Tempe Campus, hunkers down just a couple minutes outside of Phoenix, giving Gen Zers the option to commute between the fast-paced city life and relaxed suburbia. Attractions in Tempe encompass outdoor locations. From rocky Papagoa Park to Tempe Butte to Kiwanis Park, Tempe presents endless options for soaking in its outdoor paradise. 

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