Topeka was ranked among the top 20 most popular cities in the U.S. for Gen Z renters in 2020,  according to a report published last week by RENTCafé, an online listing website for rental properties. Nearly 3 million renter applications were analyzed as part of this study, 22% were from applicants born after 1997 — also known as Generation Z, or Gen Z. The oldest of this demographic would have turned 23 in 2020.

The Greater Topeka Partnership, the region’s leading collaborative economic development agency, sees this recognition as a testament to the benefits Topeka offers young talent. Furthermore, this recognition also could serve to further recruit more of the Gen Z population.

“I think the Gen Z crowd recognizes the benefits Topeka holds for young professionals,” said Kelli Maydew, executive director of Forge Young Talent. Forge is an organization that works to engage and empower the 18 – 40 population within the Topeka & Shawnee County community.

“There are helpful and fun amenities to take advantage of, but there are also numerous ways to get involved with the community,” Maydew continues. “Whether you want to grow in your field, network with other young talent, or drive change, Topeka is a great place to start your legacy.”

“There’s amazing synergy happening in Topeka,” says Del-Metrius Herron, chair of the Forge Leadership Team. “It’s large enough to offer amazing opportunities in the way of educational and career development, and there are a variety of outlets to meet new people emerging. But Topeka is also small enough for young people to make connections with community leaders and, in effect, make their own mark on their community through these connections. In addition, Topeka is still one of the most affordable places to live in our country. As cost of living increases and remote working opportunities increase, I wholeheartedly believe that we will continue to see major demographic shifts across the heartland of America.”

“Affordable housing, access to secondary learning opportunities through institutions like Washburn University and Washburn Institute for Technology, shorter, easier commutes, and accessible amenities are definitely big draws to the Gen Z population,” says Barbara Stapleton, vice president of business retention and talent initiatives, GO Topeka. “Recognition like this further validates these existing benefits as a considerable draw for this generation, which is considered to be ‘just starting out’ in their careers.”

RENTCafé noted that “the trending locations preferred by Gen Z are small towns in the heartland, in the Midwest as well as in parts of the South, favored not only for being more affordable, but also for offering a vibrant local scene that feels authentic and closer to home for these young adults who are starting out in life in times of great uncertainty and change.”

For more information on this analysis and the full list of Top 20 Trending Cities for Gen Z Renters in 2020, visit: