Top Cities for Millennials in the Midwest

by Jamie Matthews | Published on Aug. 16, 2021

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Are you a millennial considering a move to or within the Midwest? Check out these top cities to see if one of them might be right for you.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted Americans to move in droves. For some, the low mortgage rates have presented an excellent opportunity to buy a new home. For others, permanent remote work has provided more flexibility to live further away from their jobs.

If you're a millennial (someone born between 1981 and 1996) and find yourself considering a move of your own, consider buying your next home in one of these top cities in the Midwest.

Columbus, Ohio

The capital city of Ohio has a population of 913,921. Of course, that's just within city limits. The Columbus metro area clocks in as the U.S.' 28th largest, with a population of approximately 2.4 million. And it's growing quickly, with a population of 3 million expected by the year 2050.

With all of those residents comes a ton of opportunity. Columbus has something for everyone, including:

  • A hopping restaurant scene
  • Housing options galore
  • Employment and education opportunities
  • The best in healthcare
  • Sports

Speaking of sports, the Columbus area is home to 50 colleges and universities, with the No. 1 spot of course being The Ohio State University. Besides the college football and basketball elite Buckeyes (clearly no bias here), Columbus also boasts the Columbus Crew professional soccer team, the Columbus Blue Jackets professional hockey team, and the Columbus Clippers AAA baseball team. So sports fans will find a team they can root for during any season.

Besides the sports that these colleges bring to the area (go Bucks!), the abundance of colleges, along with a wealth of hospitals (15 by my count) hold many of the city's employment opportunities. There are many other large employers that reside in Columbus as well. Some of these include:

  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Nationwide
  • Aetna
  • Honda
  • L Brands (parent of Express, Victoria's Secret, etc.)
  • Huntington Bank
  • AEP

Some more good news? Columbus finds itself on The Ascent's list of best cities for high salaries and low cost of living in the Midwest. That means the money you earn while living in Columbus will go further there than in many of the U.S.' other large metropolitan areas.

Des Moines, Iowa

Admittedly, Des Moines probably isn't the first, (or second, or third, or even fourth) city that comes to mind when you think of opportunity in the Midwest. But for those looking to grow their careers, Des Moines could be just the ticket. In recent years, Forbes ranked Des Moines as the fifth best career and business city in the entire country, containing sprawling job opportunities, with a focus on financial services and agribusiness. The Des Moines metro area has a current population of just 552,000, so the competition for coveted employment opportunities is nowhere near as great as it would be in other large cities. Some of Des Moines' largest employers include:

  • Well Fargo
  • HealthPartners UnityPoint Health
  • Principal Financial
  • Hy-Vee
  • MercyOne
  • John Deere

Like Columbus, Des Moines also made our list of best cities for high salaries and low cost of living in the Midwest. In fact, Des Moines came away with the No. 1 spot, meaning your income in this city will stretch further compared to your expenses than anywhere else in the Midwest.

You don't just have to work yourself to the bone when living in Des Moines, though. The city is also home to a lot of new-wave style restaurants, a fun music scene, and a love of the arts, even featuring a famous annual arts festival. For millennials looking for lots to do in a decent-sized city but who still appreciate the ability to spread out, Des Moines just might be their diamond in the rough.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Also earning a spot on our best cities for high salaries and low cost of living in the Midwest, Minneapolis is another ideal landing spot for millennials. According to data out of the University of Minnesota, once folks land in Minnesota, they generally don't want to leave. The Twin Cities region (Minneapolis/St. Paul) came in No. 1 out of the top 25 metro regions for retention of its professional workforce.

The largest city discussed here, the Minneapolis metro area has a population of approximately 3.65 million. But nestled in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it's still easy to get away from the crowds and experience nature.

In fact, Minneapolis is known for having a little bit of everything. Job opportunities? Yep, especially if you're interested in fields such as high tech, financial management, or engineering. Low cost of living? Check. Urban amenities? Definitely. Outdoor activities? For sure. Sports, arts, and entertainment? No problem.

Minneapolis is also home to many education and healthcare opportunities, with 11 colleges and dozens of well-ranked hospitals in and around the city. Some of the city's largest employers include:

  • Target
  • Lucas
  • Coustic-Glo International
  • U.S. Bank
  • Medtronic
  • Xcel Energy
  • General Mills

Opportunity abounds in the Midwest, and each city offers something just a little different for millennial home buyers looking to relocate. Whether you're looking for a mid-sized, large, or even larger metro area to call home, there's a good chance you can find something "just right" among Columbus, Des Moines, and Minneapolis.

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