10 Cities Where the Most Millennials Are Moving

A millennial Black couple happily packs to move to another city
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

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 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 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 next.

Data and methodology

Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com

To find the cities where millennials are moving, SmartAsset analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s 2018 one-year American Community Survey.

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.

10. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio
Randall Vermillion / Shutterstock.com

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.

9. Paradise, Nevada

Palm trees at sunset in Paradise, Nevada
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

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.

8. Phoenix

Aerial view of Phoenix, Arizona
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock.com

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.

7. Nashville, Tennessee

Signs in Nashville, Tennessee
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

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.

6. Houston

Houston, Texas skyline
Silvio Ligutti / Shutterstock.com

One of three Texas cities 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.

5. Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina
Kevin M. McCarthy / Shutterstock.com

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.

4. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas outdoors
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

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.

3. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas waterscape
Silvio Ligutti / Shutterstock.com

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.

2. Denver

Denver, Colorado
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

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.”

1. Seattle

Seattle skyline
Checubus / Shutterstock.com

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.

Cities millennials are leaving

New York City
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock.com

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.

Saving tips for millennials

Invest early

Stock investor
Viktoriia Hnatiuk / Shutterstock.com

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?

Homebuyers talk to agent
Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock.com

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 adviser

A financial adviser coaches a woman on investing
goodluz / Shutterstock.com

Another great way to plan for retirement is through a financial adviser. 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.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.