The effects of these changes will have long-lasting consequences throughout the country. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institute, it is projected that all states and metropolitan areas will continue to experience growth in their populations over 55. This will lead to rising healthcare costs and declining tax revenues, among other challenges. However, for younger age groups—with declining population shares nationally—it will largely be migration that will determine which locations experience gains or losses. And according to the National Association of Realtors, affordability is more important to under-30-year-olds than any other age cohort.
Recent Census data shows consistency with these trends—namely, that locations with below-average living costs tend to attract more young people. At the state level, Utah and Texas have the largest young populations, where 48.2% and 42.8% of the population is under 30, respectively. Both of these states offer costs of living that are 3.5% lower than average. Texas, in particular, stands out as being among the top states for total population growth, net migration, and growth in its young population over the past 10 years. These trends have only accelerated during the pandemic, which sparked an increased number of individuals, families, and businesses to relocate to Texas from high-cost states like California in search of lower taxes, more affordable housing, and fewer government restrictions.