This North Carolina city was named a hot spot for Gen Z. What makes it so attractive?

Travis Long/tlong@newsobserver.com
·3 min read

North Carolina is home to one of the nation’s most attractive places for younger people to live, a new report finds.

Raleigh ranks No. 5 on a list of cities with population trends and amenities that make them appealing to people in Generation Z, according to results published on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

To create the list, the real estate website CommercialCafe said it studied the biggest cities in the United States. Using data from the U.S. government and other sources, it considered factors tied to Gen Z, often defined as people ages 10 to 25.

“Generation Zers are graduating and looking for their first jobs — and with the ubiquity of remote jobs, they have more flexibility than ever in choosing where they settle down,” CommercialCafe wrote in its report. “With this in mind, we set out to rank the cities that have the most potential as Generation Z havens.”

In the report, each city received scores for job opportunities, internet speeds, costs, transportation, entertainment venues, parks and the presence of younger people.

Raleigh made its mark after it earned high scores in several categories. The city was recognized for having some of the lowest unemployment rates, highest internet speeds and largest portions of Gen Z residents, results show.

CommercialCafe also found Raleigh had one of the highest shares of residents ages 20 to 24 who were recently enrolled in school, which might not be a surprise for an area teeming with colleges and universities.

Despite top 10 performances in those categories, Raleigh ranked lower when it came to affordability, activities, and people walking, biking or taking public transit.

The Raleigh area isn’t a stranger to being recognized as a Gen Z hot spot. Last summer, the metro earned high scores on a similar list of places that are best for younger people.

Earlier in 2021, the Eastern North Carolina city of Greenville was named the nation’s trendiest place for Gen Z renters on the move.

This time around, the only other place in the state that earned a nod from CommercialCafe was Charlotte, which landed in the No. 25 spot. At least four of the largest U.S. cities weren’t considered in the report due to a lack of data, officials wrote.

Overall, the city landing at the top of the list was Atlanta. The next three were Minneapolis, Boston and Tucson, Arizona.

“The Northeast, Midwest and Southwest claimed the majority of the 20 best cities for Generation Z,” CommercialCafe wrote. “With the exception of New York City closing out the top 10, all of the cities on our list had fewer than 1 million residents. However, they also varied greatly in aspects such as economy, Gen Z community, walkability and even climate, thereby providing a wide array of options for Zoomers looking to relocate or settle down for their first job — remote or otherwise.”

CommercialCafe, which listed 45 cities in its report, said Detroit came out on the bottom. The website didn’t immediately share additional information with McClatchy News on Aug. 12.

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