SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Who would’ve thought that Syracuse, a smaller city in comparison to others within the state, would rank 7/10 as one of the top cities, nationally, that Gen Z is moving to.

18 to 24 year old’s are leaving the nest and taking themselves to some of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country, or so we thought. Then, why is Syracuse on this list?

What we know:

On average, Americans will move 11.4 times in their lifetime, with different factors causing them to leave one place, and start their lives over again in another.

In recent years, a big reason for all of this moving was the pandemic. The “work from home” life had stuck its foot in the door, and now, three years later, that door has been kicked wide open.

Remote work has been a luxury for many, and Gen Z has been using it to their advantage. Why be miserable in your current home office, when you can change the scenery?

According to Business Insider, nearly 5 million people in the US, or 2.4 percent of all Americans, are estimated to have moved to a new location as a result of remote work’s location flexibility, since the beginning of the pandemic.

Nationally, the states with the overall highest gains in the population are Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona and South Carolina, and the five largest U.S. cities with the highest net migration for Gen Z increases are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.

On the flip side, Millennials were quick to leave New York City during the pandemic. Leaving the concrete jungle for real trees and maybe some more sunshine. After 96,600 people fled the city, the Big Apple turned out into a big draw for Gen Z, gaining over 3,043 Gen Zers – the largest net gain for NYC across all age groups, according to a recent report from USA Today.

To break it down, The Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z were all taken into account. However, Gen Z is literally and metaphorically making the most moves, therefore giving us the numbers.

Here are the generational ages for reference:

  • The Silent Generation: 78-95
  • Boomers: 59-77
  • Gen X: 43-58
  • Millennials: 27-42
  • Gen Z: 11-26

What is bringing people to Syracuse?

A lot of fingers are pointed at Syracuse University, the summer concerts at St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview, the in-the-works Micron semiconductor facility, or maybe even Destiny USA -- on its best day -- may be reasons to move.

However, during his State of the City address in January, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh explained that "we are, for the first time in decades, experiencing growth. Our prospects for the future are even brighter. Our great calling now is to prepare for Next Level Growth – to ensure that our decisions and action in the pivotal months and years before us create sustainable growth and opportunity for all."

NewsChannel 9's own, Ryan Dean, has done multiple stories about all of the new complexes in Syracuse that are being built and turned into apartments, continuously acknowledging that there is room for the city to grow, and for people to live within it.

Real estate opportunities, especially for renters, have a lot of pull on those who are looking to make the move. Real estate agents and brokers are well aware of what is in high demand as well.

"Syracuse has always been an affordable alternative in housing ownership and rental compared to so many other mid-sized cities," said Donald Gendron, an Associate Real Estate Broker at JF Real Estate.

He added that another factor of Gen Z's move, that Syracuse offers, is the appeal of an easy commute via the New York State Thruway and Route 81.

However, the city has more than just a simple commute.

"The Syracuse area also offers exceptional educational opportunities and many of those students decide to stay due to job opportunities, especially in the tech industry that has been enhanced by The Tech Garden, Lockheed Martin, JMA Wireless and the future expansion of Micron to our community," said Gendron.

In 2023 so far, 463 new businesses have come to Onondaga County, according to public records, and shopping local is all the rage now.

"Look at how many new small businesses opened up after COVID, a lot of Syracuse is turning into more businesses rather than chains," said Sebastian Ramirez, Marketing and Entertainment Director for Margarita’s Mexican Cantina

These local businesses create a unique appeal to the City that you may not be able to find or replicate in other places. On top of that, Syracuse's location on the map has its perks.

Central New York has "a lot of natural resources and attractions such as the Finger Lakes and Adirondacks, which Gen Z enjoys (skiing, hiking, camping, wineries, etc.). Businesses and companies have been investing into the local economy and area recently, providing additional employment opportunities for Gen Z as well, which has played a role in this growth," said Joe Stickle, owner of TG Sticks Management.

Stickle's team is mostly made up of young people and he says that they are now at a point where they are able to turn around to mentor and help other people within the Gen Z group.

Stickle also pointed out that social media and easy access to knowledge have empowered this younger generation to see the power of buying real estate.

Where are they coming from?

According to Stacker, data from 2019 shows the top five places that new Syracuse residents are leaving:

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area
    • Migration to Syracuse from New York in 2015-2019: 5,529 (#23 most common destination from New York)
    • Migration from Syracuse to New York: 3,626 (#1 most common destination from Syracuse)
    • Net migration: 1,903 to Syracuse
  • Utica-Rome, NY Metro Area
    • Migration to Syracuse from Utica in 2015-2019: 1,735 (#1 most common destination from Utica)
    • Migration from Syracuse to Utica: 1,261 (#3 most common destination from Syracuse)
    •  Net migration: 474 to Syracuse
  • Rochester, NY Metro Area
    • Migration to Syracuse from Rochester in 2015-2019: 1,399 (#3 most common destination from Rochester)
    • Migration from Syracuse to Rochester: 3,080 (#2 most common destination from Syracuse)
    • Net migration: 1,681 to Rochester
  • Binghamton, NY Metro Area
    • Migration to Syracuse from Binghamton in 2015-2019: 740 (#2 most common destination from Binghamton)
    • Migration from Syracuse to Binghamton: 277 (#18 most common destination from Syracuse)
    • Net migration: 463 to Syracuse
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY Metro Area
    • Migration to Syracuse from Buffalo in 2015-2019: 716 (#5 most common destination from Buffalo)
    • Migration from Syracuse to Buffalo: 780 (#6 most common destination from Syracuse)
    • Net migration: 64 to Buffalo

National numbers for net migration:

If you're curious as to which states have the most people coming and going, you can hover over the graphic below and see each state's statistics.

Most southern states took the cake, with Florida and Texas reaching over 100,000 in total net migration.