When you’re trying to decide where to move after you graduate from college, there are several things to think about. First and foremost, you need to find a city that offers abundant job opportunities in your field. You also need a place you can actually afford to live since you’ll likely be starting in an entry-level position (at an entry-level salary). In addition to affordable rent you need to consider other cost of living expenses like transportation, not to mention the availability of public services like mass transit. Of course, most grads would also prefer a city that has plenty of youthful activity so that they can meet new people and have an active social life. It’s a tall order, to be sure, but not at all unattainable if you do a little research. Here are just a few great cities new college grads should consider.
- Boston, Massachusetts
Despite being one of the oldest cities in the U.S., Boston boasts one of the youngest populations, with the highest concentration of 20-somethings of any large city. While this does mean some competition for jobs, it’s worth noting that the unemployment rate is just below 5%. Rent is not the cheapest in Boston, but with jobs to be had, plenty of peers to socialize with, entertainment options galore, and a walking-friendly city to explore, Beantown has a lot to offer recent graduates looking to build a life.
- Raleigh, North Carolina
The ATL may still be booming, but there’s a lot to be said for heading north to Raleigh, where jobs in forward-thinking industries like aerospace, biotech, healthcare, and green energy are abundant. In addition, a decent population of college grads is bolstered by several area universities, ensuring social activities and no shortage of peers to interact with. With low unemployment and relatively low cost of living, this city is a great place for any grad to get a start out.
- Austin, Texas
The Live Music Capital of the World is best known for shows like Austin City Limits and events like SXSW, but it’s more than just a great place to see a live band. Coca Cola, Delta Air Lines, and The Home Depot all have corporate bases in this little city, and graduates will enjoy the low cost of living, hospitable residents, and endless nightlife in Austin.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
Yes, Minneapolis is cold for much of the year, but like many smaller cities, it has recovered from the recession more quickly than high-cost, high-population metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and New York City. So what makes Minneapolis better than the rest? How about low-cost living, low unemployment rates, and 19 Fortune 500 companies to choose from, including Best Buy, 3M, and Target?
- Seattle, Washington
It may be pegged as the gloomiest city in the U.S. thanks to an average 150 days of rainfall annually, but it also plays host to a growing number of tech companies looking to set up shop in a more affordable city. Some say Seattle will become the next tech capital. Tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon already call the Emerald City home, and with more tech companies moving in, it could just be the next Silicon Valley, only without the attendant cost of living. With a hopping nightlife, including a killer music and club scene, plenty of outdoorsy adventures to be hand, and a relatively low unemployment rate (just over 5%), this is a great city to consider after graduation. It may not be as hip as Portland, but it’s definitely more affordable, and if you just earned your degree from Washington State University, you won’t have far to go.