Top 10 U.S. Cities for Gen Z to Live, Work and Play

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As Generation Z begins to enter the workforce, CommercialCafe has put together a study to determine which U.S. cities have the most to offer them. By looking at various metrics covering aspects such as affordability, employment prospects and recreational options, they ranked 45 major cities. Here are the top 10 choices for Zoomers in the U.S.:


1. Atlanta, GA

With 66.9 points out of 100, Atlanta took the top spot by more than three points ahead of the competition. It scored top marks in the number of parks metric, with 7.61 per 10,000 residents, and came in second regarding the number of Zoomers enrolled in higher education.

Atlanta also boasts a cost of living index that is almost on par with the national average while enjoying a low unemployment rate of just 5.1%. In addition, Gen Z-ers make up almost 10% of the city’s total population, the fourth highest in the ranking.

Overall, Atlanta excels with good education and employment prospects, walkability, and a strong community spirit.

2. Minneapolis, MN

While Minneapolis didn’t take top spots for any specific metric, it scored high among most of them, earning it second position on the podium. With a total of 63.8 points, it came in third for the percentage of Zoomers out of the total population. Plus, more than half are enrolled in some form of higher education.

Minneapolis also has the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the ranking, at 3.8%, while the cost of living is in line with the national average. An attractive coworking scene also makes Minneapolis an excellent choice for freelancers and remote workers.

3. Boston, MA

With a score of 63.2, Boston is right behind Minneapolis. It took the top spot regarding the number of Zoomers in higher education (64.1%) and came in third for green commuting options. Boston is home to the second-highest percentage of Gen Z-ers on the list, too, with Zoomers accounting for 10.2% of the population.

High internet speeds and a wealth of job opportunities, particularly in the life sciences sector, helped Boston make the top three. However, it lost points due to its affordability index of 150.8%.

4. Tucson, AZ

Over 11% of Tucson’s population are Gen Z, seeing the city score top marks in this metric. The city also boasts the sixth-fastest internet speed and remarkable affordability. Moreover, an unemployment rate of just 5.5% helped it make the top ten.

The city is home to some truly vibrant neighborhoods full of things to do. Best of all, they’re mostly very walkable. However, Tucson lost points for a low number of green commute options.

5. Raleigh, NC

Raleigh scored well across the board for a total of 56.3 points. Just under 50% of Zoomers in the city are in some form of higher education, while unemployment is just 4.5%. Raleigh also boasts a low cost of living, 5% below the national average.

As the most populous city in the Carolina Triangle, it’s rapidly becoming a hub for the high-tech manufacturing and life sciences sectors. Enviable job opportunities await here, making Raleigh a top choice for Zoomers looking to relocate.

6. Columbus, OH

Like Raleigh, Columbus scored well across the board, earning 53.7 points. But, most notably, it boasts a cost of living that is 11% lower than the national average. Meanwhile, with 46% of Zoomers in higher education, and a relatively low unemployment rate of 5.2%, excellent job prospects abound.

However, it was among one of the lowest-scoring cities in terms of internet speed, with an average of 379 MB/s.

7. Seattle, WA

Seattle is the only city on the West Coast to make not only the top ten but also the top 20. It scored exceptionally well in unemployment, taking second place for this metric with a rate of just 3.7%. The city also enjoys the third fastest internet speed (512 MB/s), which is no surprise considering how it has become a tech hub in recent years.

A wide variety of great coworking spaces add to Seattle’s appeal. However, despite above-average scores across most other metrics, it lost points for being among the most expensive cities in the listing.

8. Austin, TX

One of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Austin has established itself as a haven for both Millennials and Zoomers. It boasts high internet speeds, a cost of living that’s more or less on par with the national average, and the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the ranking (3.9%).

It also scored high regarding the number of Gen Z-ers in higher education, at 48%, while a wealth of recreational establishments ensure there’s always something to do.

9. El Paso, TX

With a cost of living nearly 12% lower than the national average, El Paso is the fifth most affordable city in the ranking. It enjoys a higher percentage of Zoomers than Austin, at 8.2%, but has a higher unemployment rate and fewer entertainment options.

Meanwhile, there is a lack of green commuting options in El Paso since just 2.7% of residents walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work.

10. New York, NY

Despite scoring top marks across three metrics, internet speed (636 MB/s), entertainment options (10,311) and green commuting (63.9%), it only just made the top ten. At the other end of the spectrum, NYC is the second most expensive city on the list, with an affordability index of 180.4% and the second-highest unemployment rate (9.9%). Additionally, the city has a low percentage of Gen Z, just 6.4%.

However, it’s an iconic place that will always be an attractive choice for its vibrancy, countless business opportunities and unique style.

Interested in the office or shared spaces market in the areas mentioned in this study? Visit the links below:

Office space for rent in Austin
Office space for rent in El Paso
Office space for rent in NYC
Coworking in Atlanta
Coworking in Boston
Coworking in NYC

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