Survey Says: These Are The Best Cities For New Grads

Survey Says: These Are The Best Cities For New Grads

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Melissa Massello
Jul 20, 2017

Roots and wings, that's what most parents wish to give their kids as they become adults, graduating from college and entering the real world. And nowadays, more than a third of those new grads know they'll need those wings in order to actually be able find a job and afford to live on their own without help from their parents.

According to a new survey of more than 2,000 new college grad job seekers by ZipRecruiter, nearly three quarters of them (78.9 percent) are optimistic they'll find a job — perhaps because nearly half of those idealists (38.8 percent) are willing to literally move anywhere for the right opportunity.

By analyzing cities in every region of the country with both low unemployment rates and a large number of entry level jobs, ZipRecruiter identified the top 20 strongest regional economies for new college grads — and some of the cities may be surprising, or at least the lack of certain formerly popular cities at the top.

But truly the most shocking finding, at least to this writer, is that by analyzing Trulia data to include bedroom communities and (arguably) commutable smaller cities nearby, ZipRecruiter was able to find three job markets with good entry level jobs with growth potential where the median rent is also less than $1000/month.

Yes, really.

So, share this list with any recent college grad you know and give them a leg up at adulting from the get-go.

Here are the top 20 cities for just starting out, in order:

  1. Minneapolis-St Paul, MN (including Bloomington, WI)
  2. Kansas City, MO (median rent: $850)
  3. Portland, OR (including Beaverton & Vancouver, WA)
  4. Seattle-Tacoma, WA (including Bellevue)
  5. Indianapolis, IN (including Carmel) (median rent: $995)
  6. Salt Lake City, UT
  7. Boston/Cambridge, MA (including Quincy and NH)
  8. San Francisco, CA (including Oakland and Fremont)
  9. Nashville, TN (including Davidson, Murfreesboro & Franklin)
  10. Raleigh, NC (including Carey)
  11. San Antonio, TX
  12. San Diego, CA (including Carlsbad & San Marcos)
  13. Phoenix, AZ (including Scottsdale & Mesa)
  14. Denver, CO (including Aurora)
  15. Austin, TX (including Round Rock)
  16. Oklahoma City, OK (median rent: $995)
  17. Washington, D.C. (including Alexandria & Arlington, VA & MD, WV)
  18. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (including Arlington)
  19. Orlando, FL (including Kissimmee)
  20. San Jose, CA (including Sunnyvale & Santa Clara)

"Project manager positions in the tech industry are a popular career choice for recent college graduates, and a vast majority of these project manager roles can be found in the West and the South, particularly Texas and California," Cathy Barrera, the chief economic adviser at ZipRecruiter, recently told Refinery29. "Grads who are paying special attention to the growth opportunities of their job options can cherry pick the skills they want to learn and use them to create a launch-pad to their dream job."

While the median rent in San Francisco (number 8 on the list) is still a whopping $4,325/month, the top three cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Kansas City, and the Portland, Oregon area) are still more affordable by many degrees over.

Check out more data over at ZipRecruiter.

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