You can’t deny the fact that millennials flock to cities like Los Angeles and good old New York, New York. What you may find surprising, though, is that the most relative growth regarding people ages 25 through 34 (the oh-so-dreaded millennial age range) isn’t in the places you’d think. The Urban Land Institute conducted research on this phenomenon, and TIME broke it down.
The list of the 25 cities where millennials are moving is both eye-opening and, frankly, a bit confusing. Who knew that our nation’s most controversial group of people would want to live in Cheektowaga, NY?
The following list of 25 cities comes out of a total of 50 that were analyzed. From 2010 to 2015, the number of millennial-aged people moving to the area was tracked.
From year to year, then, one can see the increase in millennials as a percentage. New York City had 29,774 millennials added from 2010 to 2015, but it only represented an uptick of 2.5 percent, for example. Check out some of the other data below.
25. New York-Newark-Jersey City
New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania
You knew about New York, but if you’re not from the East Coast, you may not have known about Newark and Jersey City. Short commutes from Manhattan, Newark and Jersey City have become increasingly popular with millennials.
24. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise
Shocked that “young” people are moving to Vegas and not just visiting for an extended weekend? Yeah, us too.
Columbus, Ohio may not be one of America’s most bustling cities, but plenty of millennials are starting to call it home. From 2010 to 2015, the millennial population increased by 3.2 percent.
District of Columbia-Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia
With serene views like this, it’s no surprise that people are moving to the greater-DC area.
21. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
Plenty of people we know love a bit of fun in the sun. If you prefer your fun in the sun on the beach, you may want to check out these Florida destinations.
Rhode Island offers that New England, on-the-coast vibe that you may not associate with millennials. From 2010 to 2015, though, 2,355 millennials moved there. That’s a 3.8 percent increase.
19. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land
There were 5,904 millennial-aged people who moved into the greater Houston area between 2010 and 2015, representing a 3.9 percent uptick.
(We think we know about 250 of them, just about.)
North Carolina-South Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina (and some parts of South Carolina) saw an increase in its millennial presence by about 4 percent . How many of them are self-made yogis is the real question, though.
Even millennials like the beach! Enough of them moved to Jacksonville in order for the city to earn the 17th spot on this list.
North Carolina pops up quite a bit on this list. What do the millennials know that we’re not privy to?
15. Salt Lake City
We’re shocked at the lack of western states on this list. Utah hopped on, though, as Salt Lake City hopped on with 1,983 new millennials (a 4.8 percent increase).
Oh, the Pacific Northwest, how we long for your lush greenness. Millennials don’t mind the rain in Seattle; restaurants, nature, and good jobs run rampant in Washington these days.
13. San Antonio-New Braunfels
Have you been to Schlitterbahn? No wonder so many millennials moved to New Braunfels.
12. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls
This, hands-down, was the most surprising entry on this list. With 1,881 new millennials, though, the Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls area reached the 12th place on this list by increasing its millennial count by 6 percent. We’re still shocked.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware collide. Did you know that? And plenty of millennial folks moved to this region between 2010 and 2015. A whopping 14,383 people did so, in fact, representing a 6.2 percent increase.
10. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
Hey, Miami, we sort of get it. While we do think you need to have a certain mindset to move to this part of Florida, we do see the millennial draw.
A ton of millennials moved to Boston between 2010 and 2015. The increase was 6.5 percent, and that was made up of 15,549 humans. Woof.
Crab cakes and football; that’s what Maryland does! A bunch (7,740 or 6.5 percent) of millennials know that quote and (probably didn’t) move there between 2010 and 2015.
Pittsburgh had a slightly larger increase than Baltimore, seeing an uptick of millennial presence by 6.6 percent.
6. Austin-Round Rock
How do you feel about Austin? The greater Austin area saw an increase of 6.6 percent, too.
5. New Orleans-Metairie
We’re not convinced that a bunch of millennials didn’t head down to Bourbon Street for Mardi Gras and just lose their tickets home.
If you had to make us guess between Memphis or Nashville seeing a higher rate of increase for millennials, we would’ve bet a dollar on Nashville. Memphis wins, though, seeing a 9.5 percent increase in millennial presence.
3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
California sounds pretty good right now, doesn’t it? It sounded good to millennials, too, seeing as the greater San Bernardino area saw an increase of 11.7 percent of them from 2010 to 2015.
Richmond sounds pretty good, doesn’t it millennials? Guess what: It’s not the number one VA-based destination that millennials flocked to.
So, who took the top spot?
1. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News
Shocked to see Virginia Beach at the front of this list? The local community isn’t. Local leaders surveyed millennials a few years back, asking what would make the area more attractive to them.
One light rail (launched in 2011), a few revamped city centers, a bunch of new restaurants, and 7,034 millennials later, and this urban area saw an increase of 16.4 percent. If you don’t appreciate the millennial voice, do not go here.