COVID-19 has spared no generation, but has put a unique burden on Gen-Zers—the roughly 67 million Americans born between 1997 and 2012—who are just entering the workforce, starting college, or graduating high school amid an international pandemic.
Despite the coronavirus grinding everyday life as we know it to a halt, the Gen Z demographic is still charting its courses as these young adults choose cities to start building their lives, look for education and job opportunities, and enter into adulthood. To that end, certain American cities do better than others at courting budding entrepreneurs, advocates, artists, and experts in tech.
Sublet.com, owned by Nestpick Inc., compiled a listing of the best 10 U.S. cities for Gen Zers primarily based on Nestpick’s 2019 Generation Z City Index, which focuses on a collection of cities finest suited for this demographic’s various number of existence and work values.
The original study ranked 110 global cities based on 22 indicators spanning four major categories: digital, principles, leisure, and business. For each city, a weighted average was applied to create an overall city score indexed from 0 to 100. To adjust for lifestyles during COVID-19, Sublet.com updated the affordability indicator to use mid-2020 data, excluded two indicators from the original study (concerts and co-working spaces), and provided information on the status of COVID-19 locally and how the cities and residents have adapted. Sublet also included recent COVID-19 statistics for each city from the Jan. 3 COVID-19 Community Profile Report released by the White House COVID-19 Task Force.
Gen Zers are hooked on technology, having been exposed to smartphones, laptops, and the internet as infants and young children. They’re characterized as valuing cultural diversity, making meaningful contributions, and tackling issues with passion. This generation openly shares on social media, builds virtual relationships and communities, and typically spends hours each day digitally connected.
Keep reading to see which U.S. cities are best for Gen Z—and what it’s like to live there during COVID-19.