The 15 Youngest Cities in America

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This story originally appeared on Porch.

The U.S. population is getting older. Aging baby boomers and declining fertility rates mean that for the first time in the country’s history, older people — those 65 years and older — are projected to outnumber children by 2030. Additionally, people under age 35 account for only 45.4% of the population, a proportion that is nearly 10 percentage points lower than three decades prior.

After a slight increase in 2014, the U.S. fertility rate has dropped for five straight years, and the number of births fell to the lowest level since 1985. As the country’s fertility rate declines and as baby boomers age, the proportion of older people is increasing. By 2030, 1 out of every 5 Americans will be of retirement age.

People under 35 are more likely to live in high-cost cities and have student loan debt, a combination that makes it challenging to save sufficient funds for a down payment. Given that homeownership has long been considered one of the best ways to build wealth, how cities respond to the lack of affordable housing and where young people choose to settle down could have long-term impacts on the financial health of these younger generations.

To find the youngest cities in the U.S., researchers at Porch analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the proportion of the population under the age of 35. Researchers also calculated the total population under 35, the total population across all ages, the homeownership rate for households under 35, and the homeownership rate for all households.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Following are the metros with the highest proportion of the population under 35.

15. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

Virginia Beach, Virginia
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 47.4%
  • Population under 35: 836,721
  • Total population: 1,765,031
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 34.4%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 61.1%

14. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 47.5%
  • Population under 35: 919,174
  • Total population: 1,933,860
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 37.8%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 65.8%

13. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia, Piedmont Park skyline autumn
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 47.5%
  • Population under 35: 2,856,076
  • Total population: 6,018,744
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 34.4%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 64.3%

12. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

Indianapolis, Indiana
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of the population under 35: 47.6%
  • Population under 35: 988,609
  • Total population: 2,076,531
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 37.5%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 65.2%

11. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis, Tennessee
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 47.8%
  • Population under 35: 642,889
  • Total population: 1,344,910
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 25.9%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 58.8%

10. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

The skyline of San Diego, where median rent is well below median mortgage payments
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 47.9%
  • Population under 35: 1,599,976
  • Total population: 3,338,330
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 20.4%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 53.8%

9. Columbus, OH

Columbus, Ohio
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 48%
  • Population under 35: 1,018,555
  • Total population: 2,122,271
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 31.2%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 60.9%

8. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI

Grand Rapids, Michigan
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 48.4%
  • Population under 35: 521,692
  • Total population: 1,077,370
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 47.4%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 72.3%

7. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City skyline
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 49.1%
  • Population under 35: 692,131
  • Total population: 1,408,950
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 35%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 63.3%

6. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

Austin, Texas waterscape
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 49.7%
  • Population under 35: 1,107,619
  • Total population: 2,227,083
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 24.3%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 57.6%

5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Dallas, Texas
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of the population under 35: 49.7%
  • Population under 35: 3,765,555
  • Total population: 7,573,136
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 28.6%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 59.5%

4. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

San Antonio, Texas outdoors
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 49.9%
  • Population under 35: 1,274,164
  • Total population: 2,550,960
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 33.2%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 62.7%

3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside, California at night
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 49.9%
  • Population under 35: 2,320,610
  • Total population: 4,650,631
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 34.5%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 63.9%

2. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

Houston, Texas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of the population under 35: 50.2%
  • Population under 35: 3,545,081
  • Total population: 7,066,140
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 30.7%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 60.1%

1. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Percentage of the population under 35: 52.8%
  • Population under 35: 651,390
  • Total population: 1,232,696
  • Homeownership rate for households under 35: 41.7%
  • Homeownership rate for all households: 68.2%

Detailed findings and methodology

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With nearly 53% of its population under the age of 35, the Salt Lake City metro area has the youngest population among large metros in the country. Utah has a much higher fertility rate than most other places, contributing to its youthful population. On average, people under 35 account for almost half of the population in the youngest large metros — about 4 percentage points higher than the national level.

Some of the youngest small and midsize metros report over 60% of their population under the age of 35, and young people under 35 make up a majority of the population among all of these metros. As with the large metro group, homeownership rates are much lower for young people than among all households. In addition to Utah, both Texas and California claim a number of the small and midsize metros with large populations of young people.

To find the youngest cities in the U.S., researchers at Porch analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the percentage of the population under age 35. In the event of a tie, the metro with the larger number of people under 35 was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the population under 35, the total population, the homeownership rate for households under 35, and the homeownership rate for all households.

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