Generation Z packs up and leaves San Jose, report finds

Nearly 2,100 residents ages 18 to 24 left the city in 2021


Generation Z to San Jose: We’re outta here.

Gen Z — or those between the ages of 18 and 24  — has been leaving the Bay Area’s largest city in droves, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported, citing a report by Today’s Homeowner.

The report, which taps data from the Census Bureau’s 2021 one-year American Community Survey, found that 2,068 members of Gen Z left San Jose in 2021, when the city’s population shrank by 8,894 people.

That makes San Jose the No. 3 city across the U.S. for outward migration in that group. Orlando topped the Gen Z exodus list, followed by Denver at No. 2. 

In Greater San Jose, which includes Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, there are 101,888 more millennials than Gen Zers, according to previous research by the American City Business Journals. 

This means that, among the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas, San Jose ranks the 13th for the largest discrepancy between the two younger generations.

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California also saw major losses in its Gen Z population in 2021 as the state’s population withered by 329,633. That year, the Golden State lost 50,615 residents from Gen Z; 139,962 Millennials; 87,654 Baby Boomers; and 9,793 from the Silent Generation, or those aged 75 and older.

The state saw the highest net migration in the country, followed by New York, which had a total loss of 217,551 residents in 2021.

The states with the highest gains in overall population in 2021 were Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona and South Carolina, according to the report. However for Gen Z movers, places like Boston, Washington D.C. and Columbia, South Carolina were most popular.

California’s population declined for the third year in a row in 2022, with nine Bay Area counties seeing some of the steepest declines. Santa Clara County, the most populous in the Bay Area, lost 30,900 people to net domestic migration, second in the state behind only Los Angeles County.

— Dana Bartholomew

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