Top 10 Cities for Recent College Graduates

Which cities are the best for recent college graduates looking to settle down?

With the economy still in recovery mode, a sluggish job market and staggering student loan debt, college graduates have a lot of obstacles in their path to success.

According to Homes.com, several cities around the country are more promising than others, offering affordable housing and opportunities for growing careers.

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To determine a list of the top places for recent college graduates to live, Homes.com looked at each city’s mean entry-level income, average one-bedroom apartment price, unemployment rates, number of social opportunities and percentage of Millennia’s – people ages 25-34.

Here are the top cities that made the cut:

1. Atlanta, Georgia’s average salary for recent graduates is 21 percent higher than the national average, which earned it the No. 1 spot. The city also has the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., according to Busy Travelers.

2. Dallas, Texas boasts an 8.67 percent rental vacancy rate, which makes prices much less expensive for Millennials compared to similar cities. It has five professional sports teams and many other reasons for young adult residents to get out and about.

3. Houston, Texas has a $41,000 mean entry-level income and an $800 median rent price for one-bedrooms. With all the money graduates could save on housing expenses, they may even consider attaining an additional degree at one of the city’s 14 colleges and universities.

4. St. Louis, Missouri offers free entry to many of its scientific, historic and cultural institutions, so it’s a great place for young people to enjoy their free time on a budget. It topped Forbes’ list of best places for recent graduates to live in 2012.

5. Over 82,000 of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota residents are Millennials. With a thriving social scene and more than 50 percent of the city’s homes listed as rentals, it’s easy to see why.

6. Raleigh, North Carolina has a “small town” feel that appeals to recent college graduates hoping to get out of the city, according to Homes.com. A low cost of living makes Raleigh a good place for recent grads to launch their careers without breaking the bank.

7. Denver, Colorado has the most bars per capita and is the home of a large number of professional sports teams. If young people are on the job hunt, they can also benefit from the city’s moderate 6.5 percent unemployment rate.

8. Seattle, Washington is a lush and green place for recent graduates to get their start. Several prominent corporations offering entry-level job opportunities are headquartered there, including Starbucks, Nordstrom, Amazon.com and Microsoft.

9. Boston, Massachusetts is tied with Washington D.C. for the highest average entry-level income at $46,000, which could help compensate for its higher rent prices. The historic city has a lot for Millennials to experience, including several rooftop lounges and incredible museums.

10. Washington, D.C. can be a great place for college graduates to start careers in international business, government, hospitality and tech. It also has enviable dining opportunities and world-renowned attractionsto keep young adults interested.

If you’re a recent college graduate who is planning a big move, be sure to carefully consider all your monthly expenses before making an apartment budget. These could include several hundred dollars in other bills, or even entertainment costs.You don’t want to be caught off guard, so set a realistic plan and understand the kind of housing you can afford upfront.


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About Ilyce Glink

Author of 13 books, including the bestselling 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask. Writer of the nationally syndicated column, “Real Estate Matters.” Top-rated radio host in Atlanta. Writer for CBS MoneyWatch.com. Managing editor of the Equifax Personal Finance Blog.
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