2014

10 Best Cities for New College Grads

Best Cities for College Grads

Thousands of new college graduates will soon be looking for somewhere to start a career, hopefully somewhat related to their chosen field of study. These are towns with high numbers of young adults, great entertainment options and, most importantly, employment potential.

Downtown Minneapolis, Minn., draws young professionals.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo: Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Ranking Criteria

  • Number of 25- to 34-year-olds
  • Unemployment rate
  • Rental vacancy
  • Rental costs
  • Non-service jobs (better paying)
  • Public transportation users
  • 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor's degree or higher
  • Bars and restaurants per capita

Economists predict that new college graduates should have an easier time finding jobs in 2014 than they have in the last few years as more companies are looking to hire. Just because it's easier doesn't mean it's easy, but we're here to help. Our list of the Top 10 Best Cities for New College Grads ranks cities where jobs are available and where you'd want to live during all those non-working hours.

To determine the best cities for recent college graduates, we analyzed factors such as the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living in each city, the availability of rental properties, unemployment rates, educational attainment levels, use of public transportation and the types of jobs these places offer. We also sought out cities that cater to a younger demographic by offering lots of recreational activities, hot nightlife and a hip vibe. What we found were places where new college graduates are likely to find jobs they'd actually want, homes they can afford and a social scene that allows them to more easily make new friends, fit in and engage with the community.

In assessing the best cities for new college grads, we took into account the top-hiring industries, which, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, are: educational services; professional, scientific and technical services; health care and social assistance; and government. Starting salaries for recent college grads have risen over the last two years, a trend the class of 2014 would like to see continue.

“The overall average starting salary for the class of 2013 is buoyed by the increases to two disciplines in particular – a 2.9 percent increase for humanities and social sciences graduates and a 2.3 percent bump for business majors,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

Though it's too late to change your major, there's still time to examine the best cities for new college grads. Take a look at our picks before you start sending out resumes.

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