The Best City For Millennials In Each State

by Kathy Morris
Study - 9 months ago

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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.

We explain how we determined our methodology at the bottom, but first, let’s check out the top 10 best cities for millennials:

Best Cities For Millennials

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

Your state not in the top 10? Keep reading to see where the best city to be a millennial in your state is. Otherwise, keep reading to see how we found where millennials thrive.


Each city was ranked 1 to 527 in five categories:

  • Millennial Unemployment Rate (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, with #. 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.

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.

Now check out the best city in each state!

Alabama – Huntsville

Huntsville, AL

Source: Wikipedia User Larry Wilbourn | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 3.4
Increase in millennials: 1.75%
Poverty rate: 25.6

Huntsville is sometimes known as the ‘Rocket city,’ since it is a home to NASA. Science-minded millennials will feel right at home in this sharp, forward thinking city. The rest of millennials? They will enjoy the low unemployment and beautiful nature of northern Alabama.

Alaska – Anchorage

Anchorage, AK

Source: Wikipedia User Frank K. from A | CC BY 2.0

Unemployment: 4.2
Increase in millennials: -7.02%
Poverty rate: 16.85

Anchorage, Alaska is the best city in Alaska for millennials. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, brimming with opportunity for millennials. When millennials get sick of their urban environment, the city can be their gateway to nearby wilderness areas and rugged outdoors.

Arizona – Chandler

Chandler, AZ

Source: Wikipedia User Ixnayonthetimma | GFDL

Unemployment: 3.6
Increase in millennials: 9.35%
Poverty rate: 8.3

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. Last year the city saw a 9% increase in millennials because of all it has to offer.

Arkansas – Little Rock

Little Rock, AR

Source: Flickr User Cliff | CC BY-SA 2.0

Unemployment: 4.4
Increase in millennials: -0.08%
Poverty rate: 12.15

Little Rock Arkansas has become a destination for millennials in Arkansas. Millennials in Little Rock can take part in the vibrant cultural scene and have more opportunities than most other Arkansas cities.

California – Sunnyvale


Source: Wikipedia User Sanjosecaliforn

Unemployment: 1.9
Increase in millennials: 2.82%
Poverty rate: 5.1

Sunnyvale, CA is a prime location for millennials in the Silicon Valley. Not only will millennials find themselves poised to launch their tech career to new heights, they will also experience incredibly low poverty rates, and higher than average likelihood of employment.

Colorado – Thornton

Thornton, CO

Source: Wikipedia User Billy Hathorn | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 2.5
Increase in millennials: 9.44%
Poverty rate: 4.65

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! No wonder the city saw a 10% increase in millennials year over year.

Connecticut – Stamford

Stamford, CT

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 3.8
Increase in millennials: -2.42%
Poverty rate: 18.75

Stamford, Connecticut is known as “the city that works.” It might should be known instead as the city where millennials (live) and work. While Stamford has a shrinking millennial population, it is still a central hub for millennials in Connecticut.

Delaware – Wilmington

Wilmington, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (User | CC BY-SA 2.5

Unemployment: 6.5
Increase in millennials: 15.92%
Poverty rate: 29.25

Wilmington is the best city for millennials in Delaware. While millennial unemployment and poverty are higher than most entries on the list, Wilmington is still a favorite of millennials.

Florida – St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, FL

Source: Wikipedia User Wknight94 | GFDL

Unemployment: 3.1
Increase in millennials: 4.41%
Poverty rate: 13.8

The “Sunshine City” is the best city for millennials in the Sunshine state. St. Petersburg saw an almost 5% increase in millennials year over year. No doubt millennials were pulled in by low unemployment, amazing weather, and beach living.

Georgia – Atlanta

Atlanta, GA

Source: Wikipedia User Isawooty | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 4.0
Increase in millennials: 3.33%
Poverty rate: 13.9

Hot-lanta is a red hot city for millennials. Not only is Atlanta home to the largest concentration of millennials in Georgia, the millennial population continues to grow.

Hawaii – Honolulu

East Honolulu, HI

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 3.9
Increase in millennials: -7.93%
Poverty rate: 15.65

While Honolulu isn’t seeing an increase in millennials, Honolulu is still a prime place to be a millennial. The capital of Hawaii offers paradise, palms, and is the entertainment center of the island. What’s not to love?

Idaho – Boise

Boise, ID

Source: Wikipedia User Robbymilo | CC BY-SA 4.0

Unemployment: 3.9
Increase in millennials: 4.66%
Poverty rate: 17.95

Idaho millennials are flocking to Boise for jobs and fun. Boise millennials grew nearly 5% last year. In addition to low unemployment, Boise millennials enjoy the largest population of millennials in Idaho.

Illinois – Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights, IL

Source: Wikipedia User G LeTourneau | GFDL

Unemployment: 2.2
Increase in millennials: 23.26%
Poverty rate: 3.5

Arlington Heights is the best city for millennials in Illinois. The Chicago suburb is 25 minutes away from the excitement of Chicago- and a lot more affordable. No doubt that affordability has contributed to the impressive 23% increased year over year in millennials. Millennials who do move to Arlington Heights are treated with low unemployment and low poverty, no doubt making them glad to call Arlington Heights home.

Indiana – Carmel

Carmel, IN

Source: Wikipedia User Serge Melki fro | CC BY 2.0

Unemployment: 2.7
Increase in millennials: 5.76%
Poverty rate: 1.85

Carmel may be smaller than Indianapolis, but it has big offerings for Indiana millennials. The mostly working population of Carmel millennials is unlikely to live in poverty.

Iowa – Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids, IA

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 2.2
Increase in millennials: 0.63%
Poverty rate: 13.8

Cedar Rapids is the best city for millennials in Iowa. Iowa is home to the University of Northern Iowa making it a particularly great choice for millennials seeking to continue their education.

Kansas – Overland Park

Kansas City, MO

Source: Wikipedia User | CC-BY-SA-3.0

Unemployment: 2.9
Increase in millennials: 3.72%
Poverty rate: 3.25

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? An extremely low poverty rate. Which is nice.

Kentucky – Lexington-Fayette

Lexington, KY

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 4.5
Increase in millennials: 1.51%
Poverty rate: 17.35

Lexington, KY is famous for thoroughbred horses and horse races. For millennials it’s a sure bet to call home in Kentucky. Lexington has a decent sized millennial population and saw a 1.51% increase year over year.

Louisiana – Metairie /a>

New Orleans, LA

Source: Flickr User szeke | CC BY-SA 2.0

Unemployment: 2.5
Increase in millennials: -6.42%
Poverty rate: 12.85

Metairie is a prosperous suburb of New Orleans with a lot to offer millennials- more than any other place in the Bayou state.

Maine – Portland

Portland, ME

Source: Wikipedia User Bd2media | CC BY-SA 4.0

Unemployment: 2.3
Increase in millennials: -0.68%
Poverty rate: 19.4

Portland. Delicious seafood. Millennials. The three go hand in hand because Portland is the best city in Maine for millennials. Portland has a healthy population of millennials that means it has one of the best millennial social scenes in Maine. If that’s not enough to sway you, did we mention the delicious seafood?

Maryland – Silver Spring

Silver Springs, NV

Source: Wikipedia User Kelapstick | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 2.7
Increase in millennials: 2.68%
Poverty rate: 9.1

Near DC is Silver Spring, a growing hub for millennials in Maryland. Silver Spring is perfect for commuting millennial seeking affordability and a bit of distance from the hectic capital.

Massachusetts – Cambridge

Cambridge, MA

Source: Flickr User EandJsFilmCrew | CC BY-SA 2.0

Unemployment: 1%
Increase in millennials: 0.20%
Poverty rate: 12.2

While Cambridge narrowly missed landing a spot as one of thebest Boston suburbs for commuting families, the city is still an excellent choice for millennials. Millennials who live in Cambridge are extremely likely to be working- which helps keep that millennial poverty rate low.

Michigan – Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights, MI

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL

Unemployment: 0.3
Increase in millennials: 1.96%
Poverty rate: 16.3

Sterling Heights has incredibly low millennial unemployment and a proximity to Detroit that has millennials clamoring to call it home.

Minnesota – Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN

Source: GPA Photo Archive- Flickr | CC BY-SA 4.0

Unemployment: 3.0
Increase in millennials: 1.65%
Poverty rate: 14.8

Sorry St. Paul, Minneapolis is the best city to be a millennial in Minnesota. While Minnesota in general is an excellent place to be a millennial, low unemployment, a growing millennial community, and job prospects make Minneapolis the #1 city in Minnesota to be a millennial.

Mississippi – Jackson

Jackson, MO

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 8.6
Increase in millennials: -4.79%
Poverty rate: 15.05

Mississippi is often the punchline of jokes. However, Mississippi has a lot to offer open-minded millennials and Jackson, Missisippi demonstrates that in spades. Jackson offers southern friendliness, a thriving cultural scene, and a place where owning a house is more than a dream, it’s a reality.

Missouri – Independence

Independence, MO

Source: Wikipedia User TheCatalyst31 w | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 3.9
Increase in millennials: 7.17%
Poverty rate: 13.15

Move over St. Louis and Kansas City, Independence is the best city for millennials in Missouri. Don’t believe me? Just ask the 7% of millennials who moved there in the last year. Situated next to Kansas City and a stone’s throw away from Overland Park (the best city for millennials in Kansas), Independence is a hop away from city fun. The cherry on top? With median salaries at the national average, and home prices below the national average, it all comes at a price millennials can afford.

Montana – Billings

Billings, MT

Source: Wikipedia User Sara goth | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 2.4
Increase in millennials:
Poverty rate: 20

Billings is the place to be for millennials in Montana. Low unemployment, sandstone cliffs, and rustic western beauty mean this isn’t just a place millennials live- it’s one they love.

Nebraska – Omaha

Omaha, NE

Source: Wikipedia User Raymond Bucko, | CC BY 2.0

Unemployment: 3.9
Increase in millennials: -3.37%
Poverty rate: 18.25

Omaha is the #1 place for millennials in Nebraska. While poverty rates are a little higher than some entries on the list, the Cornhusker state is still a fantastic choice for millennials.

Nevada – Enterprise

Las Vegas, NM

Source: Wikipedia User Asaavedra32 | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 4.0
Increase in millennials: 11.07%
Poverty rate: 8.7

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. Low unemployment and low poverty rate mean all those new millennials face better prospects in Enterprise than in most other Nevada cities.

New Hampshire – Manchester

Manchester, NH

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 1.1
Increase in millennials: -1.41%
Poverty rate: 15.8

Low unemployment and a vibrant millennial community make Manchester the perfect place for millennials in New Hampshire. If that’s not enough to convince you of Manchester’s charms check out D’Angelo’s subs or the Red Arrow Diner and you’ll be sold.

New Jersey – Elizabeth

Elizabeth, NJ

Source: Wikipedia User Robshazaamz | CC BY-SA 4.0

Unemployment: 1.1
Increase in millennials: 5.51%
Poverty rate: 19

A lot of millennials commute from the Big Apple and even Newark to Elizabeth. Elizabeth, New Jersey has a rising millennial population and affordability that makes it a hot destination for millennials looking for a place where home means more than a studio apartment.

New Mexico – Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NM

Source: Wikipedia User Vivaverdi | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 2.1
Increase in millennials: 0.94%
Poverty rate: 17.95

While millennials aren’t surging into Sante Fe, maybe they should be. Santa Fe is a thriving city, with a social scene worth envying. Toss in low unemployment and you can see why Sante Fe is the place for millennials to be.

New York – Cheektowaga

Cheektowaga, NY

Source: Wikipedia User Adam Moss | CC BY-SA 2.0

Unemployment: 2.3
Increase in millennials: 20.60%
Poverty rate: 13.95

When millennials hear New York, they probably think of New York City. However, our data shows that they should be thinking about Cheektowaga. While Cheektowaga can’t compete with NYC’s sheer size, they do offer a growing and thriving community for millennials to take part in. Cheektowaga residents enjoy an affordability larger New York cities can only dream of. If “small town” life gets dull, millennials can take a 15 minute drive to Buffalo to spice things up.

North Carolina – Charlotte

Charlotte, NC

Source: Pixabay User | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 3.4
Increase in millennials: 1.72%
Poverty rate: 12.75

Charlotte is home to a growing population of millennials. Millenials in Charlotte live in the commercial hub of North Carolina, with access to all the opportunities that come with it. Charlotte millennials also enjoy an active social scene, beautiful parks, and yummy food.

North Dakota – Fargo

Fargo, ND

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:Us | CC BY-SA 2.5

Unemployment: 1.5
Increase in millennials: 0.89%
Poverty rate: 10.5

When millennials hear Fargo, they may think of the movie, but the data says they should think of moving there. Fargo, North Dakota is the 10th best city for millennials. Millennials in Fargo enjoy low unemployment and a thriving urban community in overwhelmingly rural North Dakota.

Ohio – Parma

Parma, OH

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 1.2
Increase in millennials: 20.10%
Poverty rate: 14.2

Parama, Ohio is a cozy surburb near Cleveland millennials can’t get enough. Year over year, the city has had a staggering 20% increase in millennials. While Cleveland has its charms, Parma has an incredible school system and a slower pace perfect for millennials with young families.

Oklahoma – Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City, OK

Source: Wikipedia User katsrcool | CC BY 2.0

Unemployment: 3.7
Increase in millennials: 3.86%
Poverty rate: 16.5

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is drawing millennials in like avocado and, well, millennials. Oklahoma City is home to the largest concentration of millennials in Oklahoma.

Oregon – Portland

Portland, OR

Source: Wikipedia User Visitor7 | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 3.9
Increase in millennials: 0.45%
Poverty rate: 14.85

If you’re surprised to see Portland on the list, you don’t know Portland. While Portland’s suburbs are growing faster than the famously hip city, Portland is still a millennial powerhouse. Opportunity, a thriving arts and social scene, and a young, friendly community make Portland more than just a place millennials live- it’s a place millennials love.

Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

Source: Wikipedia User Ronald C. Yochum Jr. | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 3.6
Increase in millennials: -1.79%
Poverty rate: 17.25

Pittsburgh may not be as big as Philadelphia, but the city is plenty big in opportunities for millennials. While the millennial population in Pittsburgh isn’t growing, the city pairs low unemployment with a good sized young community.

Rhode Island – Warwick

Warwick, NY

Source: Wikipedia User Jared Kofsky/Pl | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 3.9
Increase in millennials: 7.51%
Poverty rate: 4.95

Move over Providence, the best city for millennials in Rhode Island is Warwick. Warwick offers good prospects for millennials who call it home and is the perfect homebase for someone who wants to explore all the northeast has to offer.

South Carolina – Charleston

Charleston, SC

Source: Wikipedia User Khanrak | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 2.5
Increase in millennials: 4.32%
Poverty rate: 8.2

Charleston, South Carolina is home to a growing millennial population. Millennials who call Charleston home enjoy low unemployment, low poverty, endless art galleries, and a charming city with cobblestone streets

South Dakota – Sioux Falls

North Sioux City, SD

Source: Flickr User Subharnab | CC BY 2.0

Unemployment: 2.1
Increase in millennials: 0.48%
Poverty rate: 11.55

Sioux Falls is the best city in South Dakota for millennials. Sioux Falls is famous for their parks, offering lush greensways and parks, something their slow but steadily growing millennial population enjoys.

Tennessee – Nashville-Davidson

Nashville, TN

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 2.5
Increase in millennials: 2.42%
Poverty rate: 12.95

Nashville is the trendiest spot in Tennessee for millennials. While rents are rising, Nashville is a bastion of affordability compared to the coasts. Millennials can’t resist the funky, music-loving city.

Texas – Round Rock

Round Rock, TX

Source: Flickr User Tony Webster

Unemployment: 1.6
Increase in millennials: 26.05%
Poverty rate: 6.45

Round Rock is the best city for millennials in Texas. 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!

Utah – Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, UT

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 1.2
Increase in millennials: 3.28%
Poverty rate: 13

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 staggeringly low unemployment and student debt.

Vermont – Burlington

Burlington, VT

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL

Unemployment: 4.9
Increase in millennials: -1.06%
Poverty rate: 13.5

The tiny state of Vermont has a gem in Burlington. While Burlington doesn’t have a growing population of millennials, it does have a strong community of young people. Bonus? Most of those young people are working. Which is nice.

Virginia – Arlington

Arlington, VA

Source: Wikipedia User Mariordo (Mario | CC BY-SA 3.0

Unemployment: 1.3
Increase in millennials: 1.05%
Poverty rate: 6

Arlington, Virginia is the best city for millennials in Virginian. Not only is Arlington close to DC, and all the excitement and jobs DC offers, but the city has an exceptionally low unemployment in its own right.

Washington – Seattle

Seattle, WA

Source: Public domain

Unemployment: 3.1
Increase in millennials: 5.98%
Poverty rate: 11.3

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.

West Virginia- Charleston

charleston, wv
Unemployment: 3.1
Increase in millennials: -3.27%
Poverty rate: 10.1%

Charleston, West Virginia is the perfect spot to be a millennial in West Virginia. In addition to low unemployment, Charleston is close to rivers and mountains, meaning it’s easy for millennials to shed their work clothes and reconnect with nature.

Wisconsin – Madison

Madison, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Dori | GFDL

Unemployment: 1.4
Increase in millennials: 0.68%
Poverty rate: 10

Madison, Wisconsin is the best city in Wisconsin 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?

Wyoming- Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, WY

Source: Wikipedia User Cliff from Arli | CC BY 2.0

Unemployment: 3.1
Increase in millennials: 1.89%
Poverty rate: 1

We finish our list off with Grand Rapids, the best city for millennials in Wyoming. Grand Rapids has low poverty, low unemployment, and a steady growing millennial population. What’s not to love?

Summary On The Best City For Millennial In Every State

There you have it, the best city for millennials in every state. While some cities may not be to every millennials taste, from sea-to-shining-sea there is a city with something to offer everyone. It also shows that great opportunities exist for the millennial generation in every state.

Missed something? Check out the best city for millennials in each state again:

State City Unemployment (%) Increase In Millennials Poverty Rate (%)
Alabama Huntsville 3 1.75% 25
Alaska Anchorage 4 -7.02% 16
Arizona Chandler 3 9.35% 8
Arkansas Little Rock 4 -0.08% 12
California Sunnyvale 1 2.82% 5
Colorado Thornton 2 9.44% 4
Connecticut Stamford 3 -2.42% 18
Delaware Wilmington 6 15.92% 29
Florida St. Petersburg 3 4.41% 13
Georgia Atlanta 4 3.33% 13
Hawaii Honolulu 3 -7.93% 15
Idaho Boise 3 4.66% 17
Illinois Arlington Heights 2 23.26% 3
Indiana Carmel 2 5.76% 1
Iowa Cedar Rapids 2 0.63% 13
Kansas Overland Park 2 3.72% 3
Kentucky Lexington-Fayette 4 1.51% 17
Louisiana Metairie 2 -6.42% 12
Maine Portland 2 -0.68% 19
Maryland Silver Spring 2 2.68% 9
Massachusetts Cambridge 1 0.20% 12
Michigan Sterling Heights .3 1.96% 16
Minnesota Minneapolis 3 1.65% 14
Mississippi Jackson 8 -4.79% 15
Missouri Independence 3 7.17% 13
Montana Billings 2 -2.13% 20
Nebraska Omaha 3 -3.37% 18
Nevada Enterprise 4 11.07% 8
New Hampshire Manchester 1 -1.41% 15
New Jersey Elizabeth 1 5.51% 19
New Mexico Santa Fe 2 0.94% 17
New York Cheektowaga 2 20.60% 13
North Carolina Charlotte 3 1.72% 12
North Dakota Fargo 1 0.89% 10
Ohio Parma 1 20.10% 14
Oklahoma Oklahoma City 3 3.86% 16
Oregon Portland 3 0.45% 14
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh 3 -1.79% 17
Rhode Island Warwick 3 7.51% 4
South Carolina Charleston 2 4.32% 8
South Dakota Sioux Falls 2 0.48% 11
Tennessee Nashville-Davidson 2 2.42% 12
Texas Round Rock 1 26.05% 6
Utah Salt Lake 1 3.28% 13
Vermont Burlington 4 -1.06% 13
Virginia Arlington 1 1.05% 6
Washington Seattle 3 5.98% 11
West Virginia Charleston 3 -3.27% 10
Wisconsin Madison 1 0.68% 10
Wyoming Grand Rapids 3 1.89% 10
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