Generation Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, contributed last year to a 31% increase in apartment lease applications in Arkansas, according to a recent report from RentCafé. In 2020, Gen Z accounted for 37% of rental applications in Arkansas, second to South Dakota at 39%.
The generation was the fastest-growing renter segment in the United States in 2020, and the locations in which they chose to live are the opposite of the Millennial generation, or those born between 1981 and 1996, the report shows. Millennials represent the largest share of renters at 48%, but Gen Z has grown to the second-largest at 22%.
Between 2019 and 2020, the U.S. share of rental applications from Gen Z rose by 36%, while it declined for other generations. The report is based on an analysis of about 3 million renter applications and ranked cities with the highest share of rental applicants. The locations preferred by Gen Z are small cities in the heartland, the Midwest and the South.
“It is easier in these places for people to take risks to becoming small-business owners and contributing to the local economy and culture,” said Jill Ann Harrison, director of graduate studies in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon. “These smaller markets offer an opportunity for younger adults not just to live in a place but to help to create or contribute to it in meaningful ways. In turn, many of these smaller cities have a truer sense of authenticity that is certainly serving as a pull.”
Nationwide, Little Rock and North Little Rock had the second- and third-highest rise in Gen Z rental applications in 2020, the report shows. The applications increased by 70% and 63%, respectively. The applications rose by 84% in Greenville, N.C., which had the largest increase. Conway had the third-largest share of Gen Z renters at 52%, up 11 percentage points from 2019. The share was 42% for Fort Smith and Fayetteville and 41% for Jonesboro. Boulder, Colo., had the largest share at 65%.