Ecce Art + Yoga in downtown Fargo, N.D., showcases works created by local artists.

#8. Fargo

The hub of one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, Fargo, N.D., provides new college graduates with a booming job market, affordable housing and amenities for an active lifestyle. It’s also considered one of the safest places to live in the U.S. While frigid temperatures and large amounts of snow may prohibit outdoor activities during winter months, newcomers are often surprised by the city’s thriving entertainment scene. And when it is warm, residents take full advantage of the area’s many parks, trails and golf courses.

The Fargo-Moorhead area’s population grew by 7 percent between April 2010 and July 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s partially due to job growth and stable costs of living in line with the national average. A diverse industry base that includes health care, technology, manufacturing and financial services has given Fargo a well-balanced economy. Nearly 80 percent of all jobs in Fargo are considered non-service jobs and come with high salaries when compared to other parts of the country. The unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds in Fargo is 3.5 percent.

The city offers a higher chance of finding affordable apartments and rental homes than most cities. Rental properties make up more than 50 percent of Fargo’s housing market, which has a healthy vacancy rate that shows new residents can easily find a place to move in while the demand for housing continues to increase.

The range of things to do in Fargo swings from cross-country skiing to attending food festivals, visiting art galleries and kayaking. Downtown Fargo draws a hip crowd, including students from North Dakota State University and four other colleges. The downtown area features a collection of bars, music venues, shops and restaurants located close to apartments and condos.


Number of 25- to 34-year-olds: 19,581

*Number of available jobs: 2,579

Hot jobs: Health care, software, farm/construction equipment

Top employers: Sanford Health, Essentia Health, CNH America, Microsoft

*According to

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