The Best Cities for Gen-Z

With the latter crop of Gen-Z's graduating college or university and leaping into a highly volatile job market, they look at what city best suits their needs. These needs are numerous and exigent, but with Gen-Zs representing 36% of the workforce, cities across the globe are adapting infrastructure and services to better meet such needs. A study from rental platform Nestpick has compiled a comprehensive list of cities that best suit Gen-Zs based on several distinct factors. As a generation, Gen-Z exhibits many qualities of risk-aversiveness while also highly valuing security, affordability, digital services, and social/political equality & equity. So which city best embodies these qualities?

Security & Affordability

For this criteria, the Nestpick study has primarily focused on affordability. Growing up and witnessing their loved ones endure the 2008 Financial crash has rendered Zoomers quite risk-averse. Coupled with the fact that debt continues to cripple many Millenials, Zoomers are most cautious with their investments and general spending.

As a highly economical pragmatic generation, Zoomers put the utmost value on affordability. While this generation tends to gravitate towards big cities and other financial hubs, more and more of them are leaving larger cities and settling in smaller more affordable suburbs. Costs of living continue to rise sharply, pushing the middle class out of big cities, which is why Zoomers aren't hesitant to set up their lives elsewhere. However, large cities like Berlin, Manchester, Helsinki, and Montreal continue to attract young professionals due to their more affordable costs of living. Zoomers are more prone to save money than any other generation and are undoubtedly willing to sacrifice location for affordability.

Digital Services

Tech and digital services form some of the pillars of Gen-Z needs and expectations. Cities that provide effective and accessible digitized services such as government digitization, connectivity & 5G, and digitalized mobility/sharing (car-share, bike-share) allow Zoomers to immerse themselves in an environment that they're familiar with and comfortable with.

In terms of digital payment & banking, which involves payment methods like IMPS, NEFT, investments, bank statements, bill payments, and overall payment ease Stockholm ranks at the top of the chart. For Gen-Z digital banking and payment ease have become somewhat of a necessity. Cities like Stockholm, whose institutions, services, and infrastructure have facilitated these processes and, in turn, attracted young people.

Connectivity & 5G is the future of internet browsing and online data storage. For Zoomers, having access to constant, reliable, and fast internet has become as vital as housing. This is a generation that spends most of its time online connecting with others. Cities like Singapore or Stockholm provide extensive services in this domain and thus representing a considerable selling point for Zoomers.

Another trend that Zoomers have fallen into and fully supported is digital mobility sharing. Companies that provide car-share or bike-share services are often well-liked and frequently used by this young generation. Zoomers are cautious with big purchases like cars but feel far more comfortable renting for short durations of time without spending an outrageous amount of money. Most importantly, Zoomers love convenience, which is exactly what these kinds of digitalized services offer. Cities like Paris and Shanghai rank amongst the highest for these types of services.


Time after time, Zoomers has emphasized the importance of a work-life balance. This generation is not content working the usual nine to five. They much rather have a flexible schedule that allows them to fulfill other needs and wants. When choosing a city to live in, Zoomers like to know that the city they choose to live in can offer infrastructure, events, services, and industries that may cater to their nuanced lifestyle needs. As such, Nespick has added factors such as concerts, co-worker spaces, E-sports, access to healthcare, and especially mental health.

Amongst these factors, mental health tends to take precedence. Zoomers are a highly functional, pragmatic, and diverse group of individuals. However, many of them suffer from numerous mental/mood health disorders, notably depression and anxiety. Spending so much time online and on social media may have socially inhibited some Zoomers while creating unrealistic norms and standards. These often lead to varying levels of depression and may also sadly lead to suicide.

Universities that address and tend to their student's mental needs are often described as pleasant and caring places to study in, and as such, cities are following suit. Cities like Berlin or Oslo have dedicated many resources towards accessible healthcare and notably mental health, helping people of all ages better cope with mental health and not normalize feelings of long-lasting depression.

Social equality and diversity

Lastly, as the most diverse and inclusive generation to date, Zoomers thrive for environments that enable and reflect these characteristics. Diversity and inclusivity rank amongst some of the top priorities for Zoomers when looking for a job and when deciding where to live. As listed by Nestpick, factors such as the right to protest, LGBT+ equality, gender equality, racial equality, and internationalism play a significant role in Zoomer's living choices.

Regarding gender equality, most large cities in Norway and Sweden rank the highest, creating a far more harmonious living situation for all.

Being perhaps more politicized, Zoomers also want to know that their voice is heard, and uncensored, and as such, the right to protest is also of the utmost importance. Unsurprisingly, Sweden and Norway rank the highest in those categories to rendering them viable choices to a highly politically involved generation.

However, for internalism, Dubai and Toronto rank as some of the most international cities in the world, making them vibrant and culturally diverse cities. Another important characteristic embodied by Gen-Zs.

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