More and more studies are presenting how Gen Z poses less big city location preferences than the generations that came before. Upon first hearing this, as a Gen Z creative, my mind went to two places; 

  1. The internet makes it easier to have a widespread reach no matter where you are making a social life and work opportunities less dependent on being located in a big city
  2. House prices are so impossibly high that my generation has given up hoping to own a property in a big city. Unless you come into a New York, London or Paris property through inheritance or a miraculously successful business, owning one is a pipe dream. 

According to data from RentCafe, Gen Z homeowners totaled 2 million in 2022 while Gen X and millennial homeowners totaled 24.4 million and 18.2 million, respectively. Furthermore, older owners are holding on to their properties for as long as possible, renting them out and recognising how large an asset they are. 

Emilia Mann, a senior analyst at StorageCafe, said that Gen Z doesn’t have the same location preferences as older generations. “Gen Zers are increasingly drawn to simpler living in their housing choices,” Mann told Insider via email. “Unlike millennials, who often gravitate to DC, Washington, and Illinois, Gen Zers tend to favor states with lower population density, from the mountainous terrains of Montana and Idaho to the plains of Kansas and Nebraska.”

According to StorageCafe, these are the top 5 states where American Gen Zers are migrating to in hope for cheaper housing, more outdoor activities and better quality of life. 

Kansas:

Gen Z percentage of total move-ins: 14%

Number of Gen Zers who moved to the state in 2021: 59,638

Home value: $185,298

Average rent: $1,165

Unemployment rate: 2.8%

Iowa

Gen Z percentage of total move-ins: 14%

Number of Gen Zers who moved to the state in 2021: 58,515

Home value: $176,095

Average rent: $1,164

Unemployment rate: 2.7%

Idaho

Gen Z percentage of total move-ins: 15%

Number of Gen Zers who moved to the state in 2021: 41,351

Home value: $366,120

Average rent: $1,595

Unemployment rate: 2.7%

North Dakota

Gen Z percentage of total move-ins: 15%

Number of Gen Zers who moved to the state in 2021: 19,555

Home value: $219,939

Average rent: $1,044

Unemployment rate: 2%

South Dakota 

Gen Z percentage of total move-ins: 16%

Number of Gen Zers who moved to the state in 2021: 20,703

Home value: $213,472

Average rent: $1,096

Unemployment rate: 1.8%

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