The Best Cities For Millennials

Kathy Morris
by Kathy Morris
Study - 1 month ago

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best cities for millennials

Working hard or hardly working? Many millennials are working hard just to get by.

As a group, 23-38 years old earn less and have less assets than their parents did a generation ago. However, location plays a large part in millennials’ quality of life. After finding the best states and worst states for millennials, we decided to drill down further. We uncovered the best cities for millennials to prosper.Below we detail the criteria we used to rank the cities and have the full ranked list.

But first, let’s see the 10 cities where millennials have it the best:

Best Cities For Millennials

  1. Round Rock, Texas
  2. Midland, Texas
  3. Enterprise, Nevada
  4. Seattle, Washington
  5. Overland Park, Kansas
  6. Chandler, Arizona
  7. Salt Lake City, Utah
  8. Madison, Wisconsin
  9. Thornton, Colorado
  10. Fargo, North Dakota

This list may have you scratching your head. Huh, where is Round Rock? However, that would be overlooking proximity.

A large chunk of these smaller cities are tucked close to a nearby larger metropolitan area. As millennials age, they are beginning to start families and buy houses. Frequently, those new homes mean settling in flourishing suburbs who offer the perks of big city life at a cost they can afford. The other cities? With the exception of Seattle, all are in the west.

Keep reading to see why these cities have the most to offer millennials and to see the full list.

How We Determined The Best Cities For Millennials

Each city was ranked 1 to 527 in five categories:

  • Millennial Unemployment Rate (Lower is better)
  • Average Student Loan Debt (Lower is better)
  • Percent Of Millennials Living In Poverty (Lower is better)
  • Percent Increase Of Millennials Year Over Year (Higher is better)
  • Number Of Millennials (Higher is better)

All five categories were then averaged together, each weighted equally. The lower score in each category, the lower the rank. For example, Round Rock, TX had a 26% increase in millennials year over year- the fourth highest in the nation, earning it an 4 rank for that category.

To gather average student loan debt by millennial borrower, we used the most recent report from the US Department Of Education. This one was pretty simple. We simply took the total number of money borrowed by those 25 to 34 and divided by the number of total borrowers. Since this data was not available by metro area, we applied it by state. This means all Texas cities received the same student loan debt for ranking purposes.

We used the most recent American Community Survey 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau to get unemployment rate by state for those 25-34. The ACS data also provided the poverty rate by state for the age demographic. To analyze millennial increase by city, we once again turned to the ACS. ACS also supplied the number of current millennials in each city. Both of these factors were included to gauge the current popularity of a city for millennials. While the other metrics can tell you a lot about finances, migration of millennials and millennials who call each city home can help illustrate the less tangible features. More importantly, it helps answer, “Is this a city millennials want to live?

If your city isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see where it lands on the full list. Otherwise, learn more about why these cities are the worst place to be a millennial.

1. Round Rock, Texas

Round Rock, TX

Increase In Millennials: 26%
Poverty: 6.5%
Student Loan Debt: $30,240
Unemployment: 1.6%

Round Rock is the best city for millennials. Located next to trendy Austin, Texas, Round Rock offers the convenience and fun of Austin at a price millennials can actually afford. The population of millennials has increased 20% year over year, so word is getting out. Low poverty and low unemployment means all those new millennials are probably quite happy to be in Round Rock!

2. Midland, Texas

Midland, MI

Source: Wikipedia User Jake Novak | CC BY 2.5

Increase In Millennials: 10%
Poverty: 9.2%
Student Loan Debt: $30,240
Unemployment: 1.9%

While Midland may be one of the smaller towns on the list, it has a lot to offer millennials. For one, Midland has one of the strongest job markets in America. The Texas town has an economy centered around oil and low unemployment. No doubt, a huge reason why millennials are flocking there!

3. Enterprise, Nevada

Las Vegas, NM

Increase In Millennials: 11%
Poverty: 8.7%
Student Loan Debt: $30,035
Unemployment: 4%

Enterprise, Nevada may be located close to Las Vegas but millennials who make their home here are making a sure bet. No doubt that’s why Enterprise has seen an 11% increase in millennials year over year.

4. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, WA

Source: Public domain

Increase In Millennials: 6%
Poverty: 11.3%
Student Loan Debt: $31,937
Unemployment: 3.1

Surprised to see Seattle on the list? Then you don’t know Seattle. Why rising costs may have dampened the hipster city’s place on the list, it’s not enough to deter millennials from making it their home. At least for a while. The city still has a growing millennial population and most of them are employed and above the poverty level.

5. Overland Park, Kansas

Kansas City, MO

Increase In Millennials: 4%
Poverty: 3.3%
Student Loan Debt: $30,237
Unemployment: 2.9%

Overland Park, Kansas sits 13 snug miles away from Kansas City. Overland Park is known for having great schools, a sure draw for millennials seeking to start a family. Other perks? The lowest poverty rate in the top 10.

6. Chandler, Arizona

Chandler, AZ

Increase In Millennials: 4%
Poverty: 3.3%
Student Loan Debt: $31,824
Unemployment: 3.6%

Chandler, Arizona is the booming suburb of Phoenix. The word suburb almost feels wrong, because Chandler is the fourth largest city in Arizona in its own right. Millennials looking to relocate to Arizona should give Chandler heavy consideration.

7. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

Increase In Millennials: 3%
Poverty: 13%
Student Loan Debt: $28,522
Unemployment: 1.2%

The state of Utah is the best state for millennials. No surprise, Utah’s capital Salt Lake City is a great place to be a millennial. In addition to being surrounded by jaw-dropping nature, Salt Lake City has the lowest unemployment and lowest student loan debt in the top 10.

8. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Dori | GFDL

Increase In Millennials: .007%
Poverty: 10%
Student Loan Debt: $31,210
Unemployment: 1.4%

Madison, Wisconsin is the 8th best city for millennials. While Madison isn’t experiencing a boom of millennials moving in, maybe it should be. After all, Madison has great beer, great cheese, and great prospects for millennials. What more could anyone want?

9. Thornton, Colorado

Thornton, CO

Increase In Millennials: 1%
Poverty: 4.65%
Student Loan Debt: $33,439
Unemployment: 2.5%

Located near Denver, Thornton, Colorado is a gem for millennials looking to escape rising city costs, without giving up city amenities. Low poverty rates and low unemployment mean life is treating Thornton millennials pretty well!

10. Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, ND

Increase In Millennials: .0009%
Poverty: 10.5%
Student Loan Debt: $28,173
Unemployment: 1.45%

When millennials hear Fargo, they may think the movie, but the data says they should think again. Fargo, North Dakota is the 10th best city for millennials. Millennials in Fargo enjoy low student loan debt and low unemployment.

Summary On The Best Cities To Be A Millennial

As millennials age and reach new milestones, many are leaving their beloved cities. However, they aren’t going too far. Thriving suburbs that offer traditional trappings of family life while being in the orb of a large city are where they are setting their sites. The larger cities that made the top 10? Cities known for their affordability in affordable state. The only exception being, of course, Seattle. However, if you look deeper in the list you can see many Seattle suburbs are growing faster than the metro area itself.

See where your city landed in the top 100 below:

Want the latest research and most engaging stories first? Email Kathy Morris at kmorris@zippia.com to be added to our weekly newsletter.
The Best Cities For Millennials

Rank City Unemployment Rate Student Loan Debt Increase In Millennials Poverty Rate (%)
1 Round Rock, TX 1 30,240 26.05% 6
2 Midland , TX 1 30,240 10.69% 9
3 Salt Lake, UT 1 28,522 3.28% 13
4 Enterprise , NV 4 30,035 11.07% 8
5 Seattle , WA 3 31,937 5.98% 11
6 Overland Park, KS 2 30,237 3.72% 3
7 Chandler , AZ 3 31,824 9.35% 8
8 Madison , WI 1 31,210 0.68% 10
9 Thornton , CO 2 33,439 9.44% 4
10 Fargo , ND 1 28,173 0.89% 10
11 Reno , NV 3 30,035 2.49% 12
12 Austin , TX 3 30,240 0.36% 10
13 Denton , TX 3 30,240 8.48% 11
14 North Las, NV 3 30,035 7.74% 16
15 Denver , CO 3 33,439 4.03% 10
16 Sunnyvale , CA 1 34,449 2.82% 5
17 Oklahoma , OK 3 28,644 3.86% 16
18 Lakewood , CO 1 33,439 6.36% 12
19 Arlington , TX 4 30,240 6.16% 15
20 Grand Prairie, TX 3 30,240 0.09% 8
21 Allen , TX 3 30,240 13.49% 1
22 West Jordan, UT 1 28,522 -0.9% 8
23 Sioux Falls, SD 2 31,034 0.48% 11
24 Nashville-Davidson , TN 2 34,283 2.42% 12
25 Tempe , AZ 3 31,824 6.99% 16
26 Boise , ID 3 28,205 4.66% 17
27 Irving , TX 4 30,240 1.49% 12
28 Dallas , TX 3 30,240 -0.25% 14
29 San Mateo, CA 3 34,449 13.42% 8
30 Richardson , TX 3 30,240 7.99% 12
31 Milpitas , CA 1 34,449 6.35% 3
32 Cedar Rapids, IA 2 29,314 0.63% 13
33 Minneapolis , MN 3 32,322 1.65% 14
34 Parma , OH 1 33,300 20.1% 14
35 Carmel , IN 2 30,626 5.76% 1
36 Goodyear , AZ 1 31,824 8.96% 12
36 Bloomington , MN 1 32,322 8.7% 11
38 Colorado Springs, CO 3 33,439 3.6% 13
39 Oakland , CA 4 34,449 6.58% 11
40 West Valley, UT 3 28,522 7.49% 19
41 Phoenix , AZ 4 31,824 5.52% 17
42 Olathe , KS 2 30,237 1.52% 13
43 San Francisco, CA 3 34,449 0.39% 10
44 Centennial , CO 2 33,439 9.48% 11
45 Des Moines, IA 3 29,314 -6.22% 10
46 Plano , TX 4 30,240 -1.8% 8
47 Amarillo , TX 2 30,240 1.34% 20
48 San Leandro, CA 1 34,449 5.69% 7
49 Houston , TX 4 30,240 0.6% 16
50 Plymouth , MN 3 32,322 14.61% 5
51 Everett , WA 1 31,937 5.77% 19
52 Tacoma , WA 3 31,937 5.15% 19
53 Garland , TX 6 30,240 6.77% 15
54 Conroe , TX 4 30,240 18.39% 16
55 Pleasanton , CA 2 34,449 15.6% 3
56 Anaheim , CA 4 34,449 7.46% 17
57 Carlsbad , CA 3 34,449 16.96% 9
58 Portland , OR 3 33,419 0.45% 14
59 Little Rock, AR 4 31,156 -0.08% 12
60 Lawrence , KS 5 30,237 10.05% 13
61 Fort Collins, CO 3 33,439 6.69% 17
61 Arlington , VA 1 37,571 1.05% 6
63 Peoria , AZ 5 31,824 13.45% 15
63 San Antonio, TX 4 30,240 4.43% 23
65 Manchester , NH 1 31,736 -1.41% 15
66 Paradise , NV 6 30,035 10.12% 20
67 Longmont , CO 1 33,439 3.25% 12
68 Kirkland , WA 2 31,937 2.07% 15
69 Fairfield , CA 3 34,449 5.26% 12
70 Greeley , CO 4 33,439 13.94% 12
71 Corona , CA 2 34,449 6.32% 18
71 Fort Worth, TX 5 30,240 -0.44% 17
73 Corpus Christi, TX 4 30,240 0.54% 19
74 Independence , MO 3 33,309 7.17% 13
75 Mesa , AZ 3 31,824 1.96% 20
76 Tulsa , OK 5 28,644 2.25% 19
77 Spring Valley, NV 5 30,035 2.3% 18
78 Warwick , RI 3 32,341 7.51% 4
79 Tyler , TX 1 30,240 10.03% 27
79 Santa Clara, CA 2 34,449 -1.64% 11
81 Sugar Land, TX 8 30,240 12.7% 4
81 Odessa , TX 2 30,240 2.47% 21
81 Rochester , MN 3 32,322 1.19% 13
81 Gilbert , AZ 3 31,824 -11.33% 10
85 Renton , WA 4 31,937 5.27% 13
86 Fort Wayne, IN 6 30,626 11.3% 20
87 Cambridge , MA 85.0% 35,279 0.2% 12
88 Mesquite , TX 3 30,240 4.82% 21
89 Bismarck , ND 1 28,173 0.26% 12
90 Charleston , SC 2 37,249 4.32% 8
91 St. Petersburg, FL 3 35,709 4.41% 13
92 Ontario , CA 5 34,449 10.2% 16
92 Milwaukee , WI 4 31,210 2.23% 19
94 Missouri , TX 2 30,240 2.25% 13
95 Santa Monica, CA 5 34,449 11.86% 11
95 Federal Way, WA 4 31,937 11.15% 16
97 Garden Grove, CA 2 34,449 3.12% 18
97 Lexington-Fayette , KY 4 32,291 1.51% 17
99 Marysville , WA 4 31,937 26.31% 13
100 Boston , MA 4 35,279 4.19% 14
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