Learning to Fly: Best Cities for New Grads to Move to After College

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

There are many factors to consider before moving after graduating college. Here are some cities that rank highly where it's important.

According to a recently released survey, 8 in 10 college students believe that their education has thoroughly prepared them for the workforce.

And over half of those surveyed don’t imagine having difficulty finding a job.

Unfortunately, this confidence doesn’t reflect reality.

Since 1940, the U.S. felt the slowest job growth from the years 2000 to 2010 and you know which group experienced the steepest drop in employment rate? Yep, those in the 16-24 age group.

Related Article: Get Packing: The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Get a Job In

Finding a job after college can be difficult to say the least. But sometimes it might help if you broaden your geographical horizons. Rent.com recently crafted a list of cities where post-grads should start their fledgling careers.

Together with Onboard Informatics, they analyzed cities with populations over 100,000, finding the ones that are college-grad friendly based on age, number of job openings, nightlife, amount of bars and restaurants, unemployment rate, and cost of living. Here’s the list:

Washington D.C.

Yep, the capital claimed one of the top spots for attracting grads. No surprise either. The city already boasts a fairly low unemployment rate (4.9 percent) and 29 percent of the population is a millennial. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $3,287 and there are 87 job openings per 1000 residents.

Obviously political-science majors are more than welcome in the capital. But you don’t need a passion for politics to thrive here. There’s a growing restaurant and bar scene in D.C., and the art museums (like the Smithsonian the National Gallery of Art, and the Hirshhorn Gallery) are a big draw for history and art majors.

created image of Minneapolis with city and bridge

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The state that houses the Mall of America is also very welcoming to college grads. Especially in Minneapolis. Why? Few reasons. For one, the average rent  for a two-bedroom apartment weights in at $1,772. Plus the unemployment rate here is only 4.2 percent.

But besides facts and figures, the largest city in Minnesota has a great scene. About a third of the residents fall between the ages of 20 and 34 and a great nightlife comes with that. Its major sectors include publishing, milling, food processing, education, and more.

Denver, Colorado

Nevermind the employment opportunities in Denver. If you like the outdoors, you’ll love moving here after college. Denver houses a beautiful natural habit next to a bustling city. Denver’s growing sectors are aerospace and technology- a great place for those who earn a B.A. or B.S. in engineering or computer science.

But if you are interested in the facts, here they are: in the city that houses the Denver Broncos, there are 80 available jobs per 1000 residents. The unemployment rate hovers at 4.5 percent and the average cost of housing is $2,025 per month.

created image of Cincinnati with city and bridge

Cincinnati, Ohio

Also a place for outdoor fans. Roughly 27 percent of the city is made up of millennials, so you shouldn’t have a difficult time finding friends and roommates.

Although there are only 46 job openings per 1000 residents, do keep in mind that, according to new data, the Cincinnati economy grew the fastest among all Midwest cities.  Fueling this expansion is professional and business services sector, which includes services like accounting, engineering, advertising, legal, and architectural services.

Related Article: Top U.S. Cities Where Female Entrepreneurs Are Thriving

Raleigh, NC

According to Forbes, the Research Triangle is one of the country’s biggest hotspots for biotech and healthcare fields and it’s ranked #2 on the list for Best Places for Business and Careers.

This is not only a great city for a new grad to relocate to, but it’s also a great place to stay if you’re graduating from Duke University, North Carolina State, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or Wake Forest University. Unemployment rate is down (4.2 percent) and the cost of living is only 1.6 percent above the national average.

Seattle Washington skyscape

Seattle, WA

Other than being one of the coolest places on earth, Seattle has a lot of occupational opportunities for young, bright minds. Home to companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco and Boeing, Seattle ranks high on places to move to after college. In fact, adults age 20 to 34 make up 28 percent of the total population.

Plus, Seattle has the best coffee (hands down) and houses successful NFL and MBL teams. Graduates who are interested in technology, aerospace engineering, and business/marketing would be wise to take a closer look at the Emerald City.

Austin, TX

Austin is The Live Music Capital of the World, hosts South by Southwest, and to no surprise, fosters a great nightlife for post-college young adults. Almost a third of the population is 20 to 34 years old, possibly due to the fairly low-cost of living. A two-bedroom apartment runs about $1,656 on average.

Top industries for the Texan city include the technology, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology sectors. The unemployment rate is low (3.7 percent), and guess what? There’s no income tax here! Cha-ching.

created image of Boston with city and docked boats

Boston, MA

The capital of Massachusetts houses twelve Fortune 500 companies and over 100 colleges and universities (in the Greater Boston Area), and as a result is a booming area for the technology, education and financial industries.

Thanks to its rich history, tourism fuels a major part of the economy in Boston as well and provides ample job opportunities for entry-level job applicants.  The only downside to moving here right away would be the cost of living.  Rent is a bit pricey in this area of the state, with the average two-bedroom apartment priced at $4,498.

San Francisco

Ah, the Bay Area. Who wouldn’t want to live in this vibrant, culturally diverse city? The fog, the food, the architecture, the trollies? People are drawn to the beauty of this bustling metropolitan, but unfortunately, it’s an extremely expensive place to live.  According to Forbes, the cost of living is 50.5 percent above the national average and the dollar sign on a two-bedroom apartment runs about $5,255.

That being said, the job opportunities are bountiful if you’re looking for a career in tourism, finance, and of course, technology. San Francisco is home to major tech giants like Google, Salesforce and Twitter and over 30 international financial institutions.

Related Article: Best and Worst Places to Start a Business in the U.S.

created image of Baltimore with red brick buildings campus

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore is the birthplace of the national anthem and the American railroad. Also, fun fact: the city possesses 72 different neighborhoods, which creates a very assorted and artistic environment. In fact, the city hosts one of the world’s largest art festivals in America.

Thanks to John Hopkins University and Hospital, the city employs many in the healthcare and bioscience industries. Average price for an apartment here runs about $1,586 and there are about 68 job openings per 1000 residents.

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