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The Best Cities for Gen-Z 2022

The Best Cities for Gen-Z 2022

Data study reveals the best cities for Gen-Zers in 2022, by analysing a range of factors related to digitalisation, principles, lifestyle and the economy.

At Peek & Cloppenburg*, we are constantly studying what motivates our customers so we can meet their wants and needs. Generation Z – people born between the late 1990s and mid-2010s – are currently starting their careers and are a digital generation with marked differences from their millennial and gen X predecessors. Despite growing up during a global financial crisis, pandemic and the climate crisis, Gen-Zers are generally optimistic for the future, open-minded, with an innate understanding of technology. We commissioned a study to find out which cities currently cater best for this generation as they move through their teenage years and early adulthood, by studying the digital credentials, principles, lifestyle offerings and economies of cities around the world.

To conduct the study, research agency Urbanity Impact selected a shortlist of prominent, international cities based on their reputation as living destinations for young people, as well as those who have responded to the demands of previous generations such as Millennials and Generation X. Then, they assessed the digitalisation of each city, which was measured by looking at government digitalisation, digital services, connectivity, and technology education.

Next, they considered the principles Gen-Zers are generally renowned for and rated how the cities perform in each area. Specifically, the study considered climate change action, gender equality, internationalism, access to mental health care, access to healthcare, safety, and the research impact of the universities in each city.

Following this, they studied the lifestyle options for Gen-Zers in each location. To do this, the study considered the prevalence of concerts, nightlife quality, Gen-Z influencer activity, and the size of the university population.

Finally, the researchers looked at the economy in each location by assessing levels of entrepreneurship, remote work, affordability, social entrepreneurship, and the maturity of the AI industry to identify which cities best meet the needs of Gen-Zers financially.

The final result is an index composed of 22 factors ranking cities worldwide based on their suitability and attractiveness for Generation Z.

Instructions for journalists

Each column is ranked highest to lowest and is sortable. Each factor has been given a score out of 100 – the higher the figure, the better the city performs. The full methodology explaining how each factor was measured is at the bottom of the page.

Digitalization
  • Government Digitalization (score)

    Government Digitalization (score)
  • Digital Services (score)

    Digital Services (score)
  • Connectivity (score)

    Connectivity (score)
  • Technology Education (score)

    Technology Education (score)
Principles
  • Climate Change Action (score)

    Climate Change Action (score)
  • Gender Equality (score)

    Gender Equality (score)
  • Internationalism (score)

    Internationalism (score)
  • Access To Mental Health Care (score)

    Access To Mental Health Care (score)
  • Access To Healthcare (score)

    Access To Healthcare (score)
  • Safety (score)

    Safety (score)
  • Prestigious Universities (score)

    Prestigious Universities (score)
Lifestyle
  • Concerts (score)

    Concerts (score)
  • Nightlife (score)

    Nightlife (score)
  • Gen Z Influencer Activity (score)

    Gen Z Influencer Activity (score)
  • University Population (score)

    University Population (score)
Economy
  • Entrepreneurship (score)

    Entrepreneurship (score)
  • Remote Work (score)

    Remote Work (score)
  • Affordability (score)

    Affordability (score)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (score)

    Social Entrepreneurship (score)
  • AI Industry (score)

    AI Industry (score)

International Results

Methodology

The Gen Z Index reveals the best cities for people born in the Generation Z, in countries around the world, with a focus on digitalization, principles, lifestyle and economy.

City Selection

An initial dataset was constructed from cities appearing on lists of university cities, logistical hubs, economic centres and city livability rankings; including all Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States and all cities participating in the Eurostat Urban Audit.

A shortlist of 250 cities was created from this dataset based on initial scores on education, economy and international connections, and the dataset extended to include all factors covered in the study. After removing cities due to data availability or data quality concerns, the highest scoring 100 cities were selected for presentation in the city index table.

Scoring Procedure

Multiple indicators were used as contributing components when factors are presented as a “Score”. The underlying indicators were first standardised using a Z-Score [z = (x-μ)/σ; μ=indicator mean; σ=indicator standard deviation] normalisation procedure. The final score was computed as a weighted average of the component Z-Scores, and the resulting score normalised to a scale of 50 to 100 using min-max normalisation [(value - min)/(max-min)*50+50]. The floor of 50 for the scale was chosen to emphasise that the locations presented in the final dataset represent the highest ranking locations chosen from a shortlist of high-ranking locations.

A number of cities in the shortlist of 250 candidate cities were kept in the normalisation calculations as representatives of poorly scoring cities. These cities are not included in the final city index table, but due to their inclusion the actual scores shown in the table sometimes have a floor above 50.

Overall Score Calculation

The score shown in the column labelled “Overall Score” was calculated as a weighted average of the included factor scores, and normalised using min-max normalisation as described above. This means that the highest scoring city in the index receives a score of 100 while the lowest scoring city in the index receives a score of 50. As cities not included in the table were included in the normalisation calculation, the lowest scoring city shown in the table has a score above 50.

Digitalization

Government Digitalization (score)

Government Digitalization (score)

A score that reflects the degree of digitalization of public institutions. Scores for this factor use country-level data which evaluates the digitalization of public institutions at local and national level. A higher score means the country has a greater adoption, and effectiveness in the use of digital technologies. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Performance in e-Government, e-Participation and Government Open Data initiatives
  • Quality of telecommunications infrastructure and Cybersecurity
  • Public funding for technology education in secondary schools as a percentage of GDP
  • ICT access and use in the population
Sources: United Nations, e-Government Academy, Global Innovation Index
Digital Services (score)

Digital Services (score)

A score that reflects the digitalization of the economy. A higher score means the city has a greater presence of digital services. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Adoption of consumer fintech and mobile payment solutions
  • Adoption of digital services for local services, e.g. for school & healthcare platforms, food & package delivery and personal transportation
  • Adoption of digital mobility solutions
Sources: Visa, Mastercard, Apple and Android App Stores, Startup directories, OpenStreetMap contributors, Navigation Providers
Connectivity (score)

Connectivity (score)

A score that reflects the speed of connectivity options in the city. A higher score means the country has a faster average broadband speed. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Average mobile broadband speed
  • Average fixed broadband speed
Sources: Ookla, m-Labs
Tech Education (score)

Tech Education (score)

A score that reflects the overall technology education within the population. A higher score means the city has a larger number of computer science or engineering education. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • The number of students attending, in person, top-rated universities offering computer science and engineering degrees, as a share of the total population
  • The share of the population with computer science or engineering tertiary education
Sources: OECD, Eurostat, US Census Bureau, University directories

Principles

Climate Change Action (score)

Climate Change Action (score)

A score that reflects the diffusions of principles of environmental protection and climate action. A higher score means the city has a greater degree of awareness about the issue and it is embedded in local and national governmental action. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Advancements in climate protection policies and targets;
  • Trends in CO2 emission reduction;
  • Expenditure on environmental protection R&D;
  • Fatalities and GDP loss attributed to pollution;
  • Trends in pollution from fine particles (PM10, PM2.5);
Sources: Climate Change Laws of the World database, EPI Environmental Performance Index, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Germanwatch Climate Change Performance Index, International Monetary Fund, Yale Environmental Performance Index, Plumelabs
Gender Equality (score)

Gender Equality (score)

A score that reflects the diffusion and awareness of principles of Gender Equality in government policy and civil society. Scores for this factor use country-level data. A higher score means the country has a greater degree of awareness about the issue; and principles of gender equality are embedded in local and national governmental action. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Women’s health and educational attainment
  • Women’s political and economic empowerment at a national level
  • Juridical safeguards against discrimination, incl. workplace
Sources: World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report; World Bank Women; Business and the Law Index; CFR Women's Workplace Equality Index; OECD Development Centre
Internationalism (score)

Internationalism (score)

The presence of international populations in the country, including foreign-born citizens, tourists and international student populations. A higher score indicates a greater presence of internationals. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Net migration flows and foreign born residents
  • International tourist arrivals
Sources: OECD; Eurostat; U.S. Census Bureau and national statistical sources; World Tourism Organization
Access To Mental Health Care (score)

Access To Mental Health Care (score)

A score that reflects the accessibility of governments’ implementation of mental health policies catering for individuals with mental health illnesses. Due to concerns of underreporting of mental health issues, the factor does not address effectiveness of treatment. This factor uses national data on access to treatment and the environment necessary for treatment. A higher score reflects a more accessible mental healthcare network. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Mental health service availability
  • Government expenditure on mental health services
Sources: WHO, Institute for Health and Metrics Evaluation
Access To Healthcare (score)

Access To Healthcare (score)

The effectiveness of healthcare services. Scores for this factor use country-level data which evaluates the accessibility and outcomes of healthcare. The factor uses national data, and state-level data for the US. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicator:

  • Healthcare Quality and Access Index
Sources: Institute for Health and Metrics Evaluation
Safety (score)

Safety (score)

The degree of a city’s safety in more than a dozen key areas, including environmental, social and infrastructural security. Indicators include statistics on injuries and fatalities, damage caused at an economic level, public opinion data, and data on the vulnerability of a location to particular hazards. A higher score reflects a safer city. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Average homicides and non-negligible manslaughter rates for 100k inhabitants;
  • Survey data on perception of security (walking alone at night, fear of home invasion, etc);
  • Vulnerability to natural disasters, conflict, health crises, socio-economic issues; lack of coping capacity to crises; infrastructure risk;
  • Climate risk (increase in incidence of extreme weather phenomena, fatalities and economic damage);
Sources: INFORM Risk Index; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Eurostat; FEMA; Germanwatch e.V.; Survey aggregators; National law enforcement agencies and national statistical agencies (FBI, BKA, Australian Bureau of Statistics etc.).
Prestigious Universities (score)

Prestigious Universities (score)

A score that reflects the presence of top-ranked universities in each city. A higher score means the city has a greater presence of universities recognized for their research and impact on industry. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • The highest scoring university present in each country
  • The total score of high scoring universities in each country
Sources:University directories; World Bank Education Statistics

Lifestyle

Concerts (score)

Concerts (score)

A score that reflects the frequency of concerts in the city. A higher score means the city hosts concerts more frequently. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • The number of upcoming concerts in 2022, both in absolute numbers and on a per capita basis
Sources: Artist tour announcements
Nightlife (score)

Nightlife (score)

A score that reflects the presence of venues for nightlife. A higher score means the city has a greater presence of nightclubs, restaurants, clubs, theatres and other evening entertainment venues, in absolute terms and per capita. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • The number of nightclubs, restaurants, theatres and music venues in the city, both in total and on a per capita basis
Sources: Google local listings, OpenStreetMap contributors
Gen Z Influencer Activity (score)

Gen Z Influencer Activity (score)

A score that reflects the presence of TikTok and Instagram influencers. A higher score means the city has a higher number of influencers active in the city. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • The number of influencers posting in the city, both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis
  • The number of influencers with a large following posting in the city
Sources: Social media services
University Population (score)

University Population (score)

A score that size of the university population living in the city. A higher score the city caters to more university students. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicator:

  • The number of students, both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis, enrolled in university, who live at the place of study.
Sources: OECD, Eurostat, University directories

Economy

Entrepreneurialism (score)

Entrepreneurialism (score)

A score that reflects the presence of recently founded entrepreneurial initiatives and startups. A higher score means the city has a greater presence of startups and innovative businesses. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicator:

  • The number of startups, both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis.
Sources: Startup directories
Remote Work Score (score)

Remote Work Score (score)

A score that reflects the availability of remote work as an employment opportunity, and the presence of an overarching regulatory framework. A higher score means the country offers greater possibilities for remote work. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Presence of specific legislative provisions for remote work (Visas, regulations, etc.)
  • Percentage of teleworkable jobs
  • Ease of legislative compliance
Sources: World Bank; World Economic Forum; National government websites
Affordability (score)

Affordability (score)

A score that reflects the cost of a standard basket of goods and services in each city. The basket is composed of the average price of groceries and restaurants, rental prices, utilities, hygiene products, public transport, and personal care. A higher score reflects a greater degree of affordability of the city. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • Cost of goods and services basket in Euros
  • Cost of goods and services basket in Purchasing Power Parity
  • Cost of goods and services basket in relation to the median salary
Sources: Urbanity Impact Local & Supermarket Price Indexes
Social Entrepreneurship (score)

Social Entrepreneurship (score)

A score that reflects the presence of recently founded entities in the field of social entrepreneurship and non-profit organizations. A higher score means the city has a greater presence of social entrepreneurship initiatives. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicator:

  • The number of non-profit organisations and companies characterized as social enterprises, headquartered in the city
Sources: Business directories
AI Industry (score)

AI Industry (score)

A score that reflects the presence of AI-related talent in each city. A higher score means a greater presence of AI-related talent. The score is constructed from the following underlying indicators:

  • The number of computer science graduates
  • The number of AI-related companies headquartered in the city
  • The number of skilled data scientists and analysts
Sources: Startup directories; OECD; EUROSTAT; ILO; country-level national statistics; University directories