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The Top 5 Cities Attracting Millennials on the Move in 2021

The Top 5 Cities Attracting Millennials on the Move in 2021

One of the few silver linings of the COVID-19 work-from-home public health protocols is that suddenly lots of people found themselves untethered from their corporate offices. Meaning that they could keep their dream job, and move to their dream destination. Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has researched the top 5 cities best at attracting millennials and young professionals on the move in 2021. Now that many people in their 20’s and 30’s can work from anywhere, where are they moving, and why? And should you join them?

Millennials are on the move right now

It’s no secret: COVID-19 caused a lot of geographic reshuffling. Millennials in particular – who are old enough to have found independence, but not old enough to have settled in and put down deep roots in a particular place – faced a major decision. Is it time to move?

Many are now living somewhere other than where they lived a year ago.

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But while 39% of millennials moved back in with their parents, still others forged ahead to new frontiers. We all know that cities like New York and San Francisco lost many residents to the perfect storm of 2020, but you may not know which smaller, trendier cities gained those same residents in equal measure.

The Top 5 Cities Attracting Millennials on the Move in 2021

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best.

After all, the introduction of remote work opened up infinite possibilities. For millennials, those possibilities allowed for a reconsideration of their priorities.

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If they could choose to live anywhere, then where did they want to live? What criteria mattered the most in determining whether and where to move? Exploring the five most popular relocation destinations, here’s what we found.

The Top 5 Cities Attracting Millennials on the Move in 2021

1. Austin, Texas

When looking at lists of which cities gained the most residents this past year, Austin, Texas tops every single one. According to CNBC, for every one person that moved out of Austin, 1.53 people moved in.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Austin, Texas.

Austin offers a lower cost of living many other popular cities. Not only is its housing significantly cheaper, but so are its groceries, utilities, and other expenses. Life on the coasts was costing many millennials a fortune – so now that they were able to leave their offices behind, why not move somewhere more affordable?

The popular relocation destinations for millennials: Austin, Texas.

And Texas famously does not have an income tax, which is why other Texan hubs – San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston – joined Austin at the top of many 2020 lists. Millennials saw that they could both spend less and save more, and they jumped at that opportunity.

popular relocation destinations millennials

The popular relocation destinations for millennials: Austin, Texas. Courtesy Photo.

But it’s not only about the money. On WhistleOut’s list of the best places to live while working remotely, Austin ranks as number four. Though cost of living is certainly a factor, WhistleOut also uses average internet speed and number of coffee shops per 100,000 residents to make their calculations. If you’re working from home, you need efficient WiFi, and silly though it may sound, coffee shops signal that a city is bustling – even during pandemic times.

Though the days of remote work may eventually come to an end, we have a feeling that Austin’s status is here to stay. Oracle recently announced that they are moving their headquarters from California to Austin, and we are sure that other major tech companies will follow.

2. Lake Tahoe

Besides WiFi and coffee shops, there was another major factor in millennials’ decision to relocate: proximity to the great outdoors.

popular relocation destinations millennials

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Lake Tahoe. Courtesy Photo.

With all of our favorite indoor activities off the table, 2020 forced us to look past museums and movie theaters for entertainment. Suddenly, even those of us who had never set foot on a hiking trail were craving a taste of the open air. Not to mention, living in close quarters poses an automatic risk, and most of us selected our closet-sized apartments before knowing we would be trapped inside of them 24/7.

popular relocation destinations millennials

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Lake Tahoe. Courtesy Photo.

Lake Tahoe provides an immediate solution to all of these problems. Enjoy the view of a stunning landscape while you do your work, and then spend your evenings skiing, hiking, and immersing yourself in nature. And you can even reap the benefits of a community, since outdoor activities mean it’s much easier to socialize safely and at a distance.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Lake Tahoe. Courtesy Photo.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune stated in May that the interest in Lake Tahoe real estate has been unprecedented. Website hits have tripled. Another company reported showing properties back to back all day long – on weekdays.

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3. Boise, Idaho

If you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about Boise, Idaho, it may be time for that to change.

The popular relocation destinations for millennials: Boise, Idaho. Courtesy Photo.

Business Insider spoke with three ex-Californians, all of whom cited Boise’s slow pace of life and reasonable work-life balance as its main draws. Remote work has already made it easier for many to find distance from their jobs, but settling down in a relaxed environment has been key.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best

The popular relocation destinations for millennials: Boise, Idaho.

And settling – permanently – really does seem possible. Prior to COVID, many articles were written about how millennials were not buying houses. Moving to an affordable city like Boise mean that homeownership is finally on the table.

The popular relocation destinations for millennials: Boise, Idaho. Courtesy Photo.

And it’s no doubt that Boise’s trendy restaurants and coffee shops are also sources of its success. In 2017, Vogue published a piece about Boise’s rising culinary prowess, and we are certain that millennials noted this when choosing their new home.

4. Tampa, Florida

Though you may have expected that Florida’s spiky COVID numbers would have posed more of a deterrent to outsiders, apparently that was not the case. According to CNBC, for every one person that moved out of Tampa, 1.48 moved in last year.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Tampa, Florida. Courtesy Photo.

If the warm weather and glorious waterfront weren’t motivating enough for bored, activity-starved millennials, it was likely the fact that Florida – like Texas – doesn’t have an income tax. The possibility of experiencing a year-long summer while saving money was enticing enough for many to put the pandemic out of their minds.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Tampa, Florida. Courtesy Photo.

And, as always, reports of the city as a “foodie destination” preceded this influx of residents – Thrillist singled out Tampa in 2018.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Tampa, Florida. Courtesy Photo.

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5. Denver, Colorado

Denver was one of 2020’s top five moving destinations. The Colorado city was already calling to many twenty-and-thirty-somethings prior to COVID-19, and 2020 only raised the volume.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Denver, Colorado.

Naming Colorado a “quarantine haven,”  Business Insider spoke with several people who have relocated to Denver over the course of last year. They all said the same thing: a lower cost of living, plus more space, is hard to resist. After many months trapped in a tiny and expensive apartment, living in the mountains for less money seemed like an obvious choice.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best.

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Denver, Colorado.

And yes, Denver too was ranked as a destination for great food. Zagat slot them in the number four spot back in 2017. But in this case, we think the city’s cornucopia of outdoor activities holds even more appeal. Residents will often spend their weekends skiing, hiking, or camping. If you’re new to the area, these pastimes create a virus-proof way of making new friends – an offer that’s hard to beat in these lonely times.

cities are millennials and young professionals moving to in 2021, since they can work from home, where and why and which are the best

The cities millennials and young professionals are moving to in 2021, why and which ones are the best. Denver, Colorado. Courtesy Photo.

What are the five most popular relocation destinations?

Those are the top 5 cities that have done best at attracting millennials and young professionals on the move in 2021, with some insights into why they’re so popular. How about you, dear reader? Are you already in one of these cities, or perhaps now thinking it might be time to make a move?

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.

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