When I, as a millennial, think of places I would expect people younger than me would want to move to, Ohio certainly doesn't spring to mind. Still, when we look at why Gen Z moves to another state, Ohio makes a lot of sense.

Overall, the misconceptions of all states came through in a study by Hire A Helper that analyzed why and where Gen Z adults are moving. For example, you may expect more Gen Z adults to move to states like California or New York, but they are actually moving out of those states at some of the highest percentages in the country. California lost 43% more Gen Z adults than it gained in 2023, 9th worst in the country, while New York lost 57%, 4th worst.

On the other hand, you might not expect Gen Z adults to flock to states like Idaho, Utah and West Virginia, but you'd be wrong. Idaho brought in 96% more Gen Z adults than it lost, 7th most in the country. Utah gained 137% and West Virginia gained 138%, the two highest percentage gains in the United States.

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So why are they moving to Ohio?

Gen Z adults are an age range from 18-26 in 2023, so the diversity of what this generation is facing at this point is somewhat broad. We're looking at people from college age to people making the first steps in their careers.

It turns out, Ohio offers a lot to this generation at the moment as the state has a 54% increase of Gen Z adults, which is the 9th-highest percentage increase in the country.

Among the reasons why Gen Z adults move to another state, 16.8% looked to establish their own household, 12.1% wanted new or better housing, 9.2% cheaper housing, and 5.4% wanted to own a home rather than rent. Ohio makes a ton of sense for this as the average cost of a home in Ohio is just $275K, which is considerably lower than the national average of $394K. Meanwhile, the cost of living in Ohio is 11% lower than the national average.

Still, Gen Z only owns roughly 5% of the homeowners market. Setting out on their own may be part of why they are calling Ohio home. There may be an obvious pit stop along the way.

Of course, Gen Z is the largest population of current college students and 7.9% of Gen Z adults that move are doing so to attend college. Ohio is the home of several highly respected colleges including Ohio State University, Ohio University, the University of Cincinnati, Kent State University and Bowling Green State University just to name a few. With plenty of suitable options, there's no doubt the out-of-state populations at these and other universities are strong in number.

This helps back up some of the deeper numbers for Ohio. Columbus, the home of Ohio State University, saw the largest increase in Gen Z population of any metro region in Ohio with an 18% increase. Cincinnati was next with a 16% increase. Cleveland was the only state of the three detailed further in the study to have dropped in population, losing 8% of its Gen Z population.

Ohio crushed the rest of the Midwest in the study. Michigan lost a net of 40% of its Gen Z population. Indiana gained 21%, though Indianapolis lost 20%, while Illinois gained 35%, but Chicago lost 32%.

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