Gen-X said goodbye to Seattle in 2022, making room for a younger generation

Feb 16, 2024, 4:55 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2024, 9:47 pm

gen-x generation moving...

An Alaska Airlines flight takes off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Photo courtesy of Port of Seattle)

(Photo courtesy of Port of Seattle)

Americans are on the move, according to 2022 Census Bureau data, as 8.25 million Americans relocated to different states.

Taelor Candiloro, an analyst on the “This Old House” reviews team, was part of the group that examined the 2022 Census Bureau data and discovered intriguing migration patterns among Generation X and millennials in Seattle during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gen Xers in their 40s were the largest group to depart from Seattle in 2022, while a significant number of individuals in their 30s moved in to purchase homes,” Candiloro said. “We can’t confirm for sure why Seattle was a popular choice based on the available data. However, we do know that millennials are primarily moving for housing-related reasons.”

Candiloro estimated that 40.5% of millennials relocated for housing-related reasons, including 12% who wanted to establish their own household and 14% who sought better or larger housing.

More on people relocating: Seattle exodus causes small Washington town to invest in new infrastructure

“Seattle offers a bit of the best of both worlds in many cases, especially for millennials who reported wanting to establish their own household,” Candiloro said.

Seattle’s proximity to nature is a significant draw. The city is only 90 minutes to two hours away from stunning mountains with breathtaking views, hiking trails and swimming holes.

According to the data, Nashville, Tennessee, was the second most popular destination for millennial migration, followed by San Antonio, Texas, likely due to its close ties with Austin.

“Austin and Nashville have strong arts and music cultures,” Candiloro said. “There’s a lot to do, including nightlife and plenty of daytime activities. Austin is also a significant tech hub — just like Seattle.

“As for Gen X,” she continued. “The city that saw the largest influx of Gen Xers was Henderson, Nevada. My guess is that the weather and a more suburban feel attracted them.”

Nevada also does not levy any income taxes at the state level, a potential factor for those looking to move to more affordable areas. Other generations, like Gen Z (ages 18-26), migrated to large cities like Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

“I was intrigued but not surprised by Gen Z’s migration motivations,” Candiloro said. “It was interesting to see that 16% of Gen Z said they moved to establish their own household. This confirms what we know about this age group. They’re starting to buy homes and move as they finish school and enter a new stage of life.”

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But both the baby boomer and the silent generation (78 and older) also relocated, with Albuquerque, New Mexico, as the most relocated-to city.

“Southern states like New Mexico offer better weather and are good places for seniors to settle down,” Candiloro noted. “By 2030, most baby boomers will have reached retirement age, which could be driving this trend.

“As for future migration patterns, once we have 2023 data, we might see these patterns change,” she added. “The optimism that pushed people to these big urban hubs with tech opportunities might shift as the labor market changes.”

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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Gen-X said goodbye to Seattle in 2022, making room for a younger generation