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Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2015, is now entering the workforce at a fast rate and looking for places to plant their roots. While most of this generation are still college-aged, they are perhaps the most ethnically and culturally diverse, digitally-focused, and possibly most highly-educated. Recent economic and social data has shown some surprising predictions about what cities Gen Z may call home.

When averaging economic factors like rent, cost of living, and employment opportunity, and combining these with social factors such as population, education, and dating friendliness, here are the top five cities Gen Z may land in, and why they are the most attractive choices.
Madison WI


With an estimated 21% of the population aged 18-24, an average median monthly rent, slightly higher-than-average cost of living, and high livability score, Madison has a strong job market, excellent schools, and an urban mix with a suburban feel. A variety of entertainment options and a down-to-earth culture mixed with a variety of high-tech business options make this city desirable.

Fargo ND


An affordable cost of living, vibrant economy, and friendly vibe make Fargo one of the best places to live in the U.S. Unemployment is low and jobs in education, technology, healthcare, and manufacturing are thriving. An abundance of greenery and park space gives you room to relax, but a busy downtown area with bars, restaurants, and coffee shops will also provide plenty of opportunity to go out and enjoy.

Columbus OH


A low cost of living, strong, diversified job market, and variety of higher education opportunities make Columbus the second-largest Midwest city and one of the smartest cities in the world. Hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails and 19 Metro Parks give you fresh air you’ll crave, and a myriad of arts and cultural exhibitions will keep you busy. Sports, food, and shopping are abundantly available, and inclusive and family-friendly communities make it a great place to put roots.

Lincoln NE


With a low overall cost of living (7% lower than the national average), strong economy, historic district, and more than 130 miles of trails running through town, Lincoln is a thriving city to move to. Public education, government, and healthcare are prosperous industries, and the city is supported by a variety of arts and culture perfect for this generation.

Seattle WA


High livability scores, along with social entrepreneurship, activism, and a popular music scene and food culture make this a great place for Gen Z to be. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., boasting a growing tech scene, dynamic culture, and highly-rated educational opportunities. Plus, it only rains an average of 150 days out of the year—far less than what most people imagine—and has an average summer temperature in the upper-70s.