The biggest cities on the list comprise more than one-fourth of all recently relocated college grads.
It’s go time for the Class of 2015 as they leave their campuses and embark on their post-graduate careers. Where will they choose to live? What factors go into their decision? What cities hold the most appeal? The American Institute of Economic Research recently compiled its list of the top job destinations for college graduates and found that in choosing where to put down roots, young adults are more influenced by amenities than they are cost of living and other economic factors.
AIER’s Employment Destinations index ranks metropolitan areas by eight economic and quality-of-life factors. The three most popular are a high density of people with a college degree, a low unemployment rate, and the ability to get around the city without a car. Other factors considered include average salary, housing costs, job competition, racial and ethnic diversity and bars and restaurants--so-called “third places” that serve as hangouts that are neither home nor work--per 1,000 residents.
Despite their high cost of living (Kiplinger recently rated New York, San Jose and San Francisco among the top five most expensive cities in America), the biggest cities on the list, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., comprise more than 25 percent of all recently relocated college grads.
Here, in ascending order, are the top five big cities (with at least one million residents) for new college graduates:
New York: If college grads can make it there, they’ll make it anywhere. Yes, the cost-of-living is stratospheric, but nearly 40 percent of commuters are not dependent on a car and one of the country’s most diverse populations can indulge in “an attractive mix” of walking, biking and public transportation.
San Jose: If you know the way to San Jose, you’ll find paychecks that are larger than in any other major city, averaging out to $79,331 annually for Millennial-aged residents.
Boston: This wicked awesome college town has MIT, Harvard, and Tufts in the vicinity. In Boston, there is plenty to do and nearly 20 percent of commuters do not depend on a car.
San Francisco: On the one hand, the median rent in the City by the Bay is among the highest in the nation at $1,850 per month. On the other hand, its booming technology industry offers high-paying jobs. The average millennial earns $72,622 each year.
Washington, D.C.: This is the top vote-getter for college grads looking to start their professional lives. The nation’s capital offers government, professional, and technical jobs, in addition to a vibrant downtown area with several cultural and social opportunities.
Among mid-sized metropolises, the AIER study finds that Bridgeport, CT, Honolulu and Provo, UT offer new grads the best work/life balance. Ann Arbor, MI, Fort Collins, CO and Gainesville, FLA were cited as the best small cities for new grads, while Iowa City, Ithaca, NY and Lawrence, KS were ranked the three best smallest cities for the relocated college grad.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.