Special Report

40 Places Young People Are Moving

One of the primary pull factors for Americans moving from one place to another is the presence of friends and family. Young people are more likely to move where there are other young people, which contributes to large disparities in age throughout the country. In 31 of the 40 counties where young people are moving the most, the typical resident is younger than the national median age of 38.2 years. In several cities, the median age is more than 10 years lower than the national median.

Americans with a college education also are more likely to move to a new county than individuals with less education. While 37.3% of adults 25 years and over who moved counties in 2016 had at least a bachelor’s degree, 11.5% had less than a high school diploma.

Education is also a major reason people move, and college towns tend to attract young residents for both school and other opportunities. In 20 of the 40 counties where young people are moving, the share of residents enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program is greater than the 7.4% national figure.

The primary reason people move is for work. Many young people move for jobs in service-providing industries, while cities with large manufacturing sectors tend to have declining employment and negative population growth. Many of the cities young people are moving to have major information, financial services, and professional and business services industries. Arlington County, Virginia, No. 5 on this list, has the sixth largest professional and business services sector by employment of any county. Broomfield County, Colorado, No. 7 on this list, has the fourth largest information sector.

Young people also tend to move to more urban areas. Of the 40 counties on this list, 36 are located in commuting zones classified as metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget — designations meant to approximate urban areas that attract economic activity.


To determine the 40 places where young people are moving, 24/7 Wall St. ranked all U.S. counties based on the number of 25 to 34 year-olds who moved to the area from a different county in 2016 as a share of the total county population using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Only counties with populations of at least 20,000 were considered. Data on age and educational attainment also came from the Census. Data on unemployment came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted for June 2018. Commuting zones are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

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