Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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  • Cambridge, MA, had the highest rate of millennials who moved in 2022 compared to the total population.
  • Santa Clara, CA, and Seattle also saw a huge influx of millennials last year.
  • One in four millennials moved to a different city in 2022, many for work or cost of living concerns.

Millennials are moving in droves to the coasts — but not necessarily to the biggest cities.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, gained the highest share of millennial movers as a percent of the population in 2022. It was followed by Santa Clara, California, and Seattle.

This is according to a SmartAsset analysis of the 268 cities included in the recently released 2022 US Census Bureau 1-Year American Community Survey. SmartAsset defined millennials as people between the ages of 25 and 44.

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The common thread to the cities that drew millennials is opportunity, managing editor for economic analysis for SmartAsset, Jaclyn DeJohn told Business Insider.

“The reason we’re seeing some diversity within the top 10 is just a reflection of people choosing different lifestyles and paths,” she said.

Many millennials moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, for graduate programs at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, employment opportunities in nearby Boston, and the city’s high quality of life. Millennials who moved to Cambridge in 2022 made up nearly 15% of the total population. Nearly 17,300 millennials relocated to Cambridge in 2022, bringing the total percentage of millennials to 38% of the total population.

The tech hub of Santa Clara in Silicon Valley, which hosts the headquarters of Intel and Nvidia, has attracted lots of talent over the last few years, despite a very high cost of living — the median home sale price is over $1.5 million, according to Redfin. The city saw an influx of over 16,600 millennials last year — about 13.3% of the total population. This brought millennials to 40% of Santa Clara’s total population, which has a median age of 35.

Austin’s tech scene is drawing movers to the Lone Star State, while the budding film industry in Georgia has attracted millennials to Sandy Springs, DeJohn said.

In 2022, one in four millennials moved to a different city. Though many moved for work, others working remote positions relocated for a lower cost of living or a change of pace.

“Millennials are older now than they’ve ever been, so people are starting to settle down and have families,” DeJohn said. “A lot of the traditional life script at that point is to move out to the suburbs and get a little more space for the family. So it’s likely that there’s a lot of that happening there.”

Seattle and Sunnyvale, California, also saw comparable moves, as millennials who moved in 2022 made up about 12.5% of the total population for both cities. Both saw an influx of tech workers who could afford to pay the high price tags.

Cities such as Denver; Bellevue, Washington; and Arlington, Virginia, also saw large influxes of millennials. Arlington had the highest rate of millennial movers from out of state at 5.2% of the total population. Hialeah, Florida, and Arlington were particularly popular cities for foreign millennials.

Killeen, Texas, located about halfway between Austin and Waco, ranked eighth on the list as the home of the Fort Hood military base.

When looking at the top cities by percentage of total millennials compared to the total population, Jersey City, New Jersey, ranked first at 41.5%, followed by Seattle, Denver, and Austin.

However, Port St. Lucie in Florida had the lowest rate of millennials moving in compared to the total population at 4.8%, followed by Brockton, Massachusetts. Cities in California such as Fontana, Santa Ana, and Moreno Valley were all under 6%.

SmartAsset also looked into where Gen Xers moved last year. The top cities were Surprise, Arizona; Bend, Oregon; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Orlando. Florida made up three of the top 10 cities.

Have you recently moved to a new state? Reach out to these reporters at nsheidlower@businessinsider.com and jpandy@businessinsider.com.



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