Top 10 Cities for New College Grads

Best cities to survive and thrive—professionally and personally

Norfolk, VA (May 6, 2014) –Around this time each year, a fresh group of college graduates eagerly seek to begin a new phase in life – trading student status for professional titles. The National Center for Education Statistics projects more than 1.6 million students will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in the Class of 2014. Setting their sights on jobs across the country, recent grads must weigh whether to stay in their current college town versus moving to a new city to begin planting roots.

In a still-recovering economy, where the job market remains uncertain and the repayment of student loans is a daunting reality for many recent grads, the ideal place for many may be wherever that first job is landed. Nonetheless, some cities are more promising than others, providing college grads exceptional opportunities for growing careers and affordable housing. has teamed up with sister site,, to comprise a list of the ten most favorable cities for new college graduates. The best cities to live, work and play were all chosen based on mean entry-level income, average price of a one-bedroom apartment, proximity to postgraduate institutions as well as number of social opportunities. The list also analyzes unemployment rates and the percentage of the population identified as millennials (ages 25 to 34). For more information, please view this shareable infographic. Top 10 Cities for New Grads

1.     Atlanta, Georgia

  • Mean entry level income: $43,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent

  • 19 nearby colleges/universities

  • Average salary for recent college grads in Atlanta is 21 percent higher than the national average. Tied with Raleigh and Houston for the lowest average rent, this city is extremely friendly to recent grads with minimal savings. The city is also home to a number of post-secondary educational institutions including Clark Atlanta University and Georgia Institute of Technology, among others—perfect for grads wishing to attain additional degrees. According to Busy Travelers, Atlanta holds the country’s third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies and is the global headquarters of corporations including The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines and UPS.

2.     Dallas, Texas

  • Mean entry level income: $38,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.8 percent

  • 17 nearby colleges/universities

  • Well above the national average, Dallas’ 8.67 percent rental vacancy rate results in notably affordable rent in relation to most comparable metros. With more money for leisure opportunities, renters can enjoy the many attractions and activities Dallas has to offer. Home to five professional sports teams, one for every major American team sport, Dallas offers an abundance of athletic events, entertainment and professional options to residents.

3.     Houston, Texas

  • Mean entry level income: $41,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.7 percent

  • 14 nearby colleges/universities

  • Houston boasts one of the highest average incomes for entry-level jobs and is home to 24 Fortune 500 companies. Coupled with a relatively low cost of living, commuter-friendly transportation and a promising job market, Houston is ideal for young people looking to launch their careers.

4. St. Louis, Missouri

  • Mean entry level income: $38,000
  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $960

  • Unemployment Rate: 8.2 percent

  • 7 nearby colleges/universities

  • St. Louis topped Forbes’ 2012 list of happiest places for post-graduates, earning accolades based on overall career happiness among those with jobs requiring less than two years of work experience as well as the average cost of living-adjusted salary in each city. Encouraging the enjoyment of public attractions of all residents, St. Louis offers free entry into the majority of the city’s art institutions, science exhibits, museums, theatres and zoos – making it the perfect entertainment location for cash-strapped college graduates.

  5.  Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

  • Mean entry level income: $32,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900

  • Unemployment Rate:
 5.0 percent

  • 10 nearby colleges/universities

  • With more than 50 percent of homes in Minneapolis listed as rentals and roughly 5 percent of them currently unoccupied, finding “home sweet home” is relatively easy. A city with a dynamic music scene, a physically fit mantra, professional sports teams and a vibrant art, theater and literary culture, Minneapolis is worth a second look for college grads. More than 82,000 Minneapolis residents are between the ages of 25 and 34, making it easy for recent grads to find and fit into social circles. Home to large company headquarters, including PepsiCo, Target and General Mills, Minneapolis offers a variety of job opportunities for young career seekers.

6.     Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Mean entry level income: $35,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.2 percent

  • 10 nearby colleges/universities

  • Raleigh prides itself on having a “small town” feel, which can be alluring to many new college grads trying to escape the city. As the location of three universities, Raleigh’s cost of living is one of the lowest on the list. Combining Raleigh’s vibrant social, sports, cultural and arts scenes with its abundant career opportunities and mild year-round climate, it’s hard to imagine a more desirable place to launch into the professional world.

7.     Denver, Colorado

  • Mean entry level income: $35,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $970

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.5 percent

  • 9 nearby colleges/universities

  • Denver’s moderate unemployment rate makes it more easy to find a job than most metro areas. Basketball, baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, rugby – Denver’s got it all when it comes to professional sports teams, supplying residents with ample career and entertainment opportunities to choose from. The city also houses the most bars per capita, as well as an energetic and affordable social scene for recent college grads to enjoy.

8.     Seattle, Washington

  • Mean entry level income: $39,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,300

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.0 percent

  • 10 nearby colleges/universities

  • College graduates are flocking to Seattle in favor of the enticing combination of work and social possibilities. Home to prominent corporate headquarters — including Starbucks, Nordstrom, Microsoft and — Seattle has endless entry-level job opportunities for young college grads. This coastal seaport city prides itself on its efforts to provide residents with a clean and green environment. From lush forests and sparkling lakes to manicured parks and untouched wildlife preserves, there are always new gorgeous views and sites to uncover and explore.

9.     Boston, Massachusetts

  • Mean entry level income: $46,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,590

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.9 percent

  • 21 nearby colleges/universities

  • Massachusetts is a vibrant city full of fun activities and things to explore. As such, Boston boasts one of the largest populations of 18 to 24 year olds, making it an excellent choice for new college graduates. Whether spending the day taking in Boston’s prominent museums and parks or unwinding for the evening at one of the city’s exclusive rooftop lounges or underground clubs, there is always something for everyone. Although Boston’s average rent is nearly double that of other cities on the list, it does tie for the highest average entry-level income.

10.  Washington, District of Columbia

  • Mean entry level income: $46,000

  • Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,600

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.1 percent

  • 6 nearby colleges/universities

  • Holding the second lowest unemployment rates and boasting one of the highest entry-level salaries on the list, the nation’s capital is of strong appeal to new young professionals. While the federal government is the city’s top employer, there are an abundance of promising career prospects in technology, international business and hospitality. From vivacious nightlife and world-class dining to world-renowned museums and cultural attractions, there are endless forms of entertainment options for 20-somethings.

Visit to find your perfect rental space or connect with one of many property managers in your ideal city. For more information and ideas to make the most of your space, visit the Idea Gallery.


View a full list of sources used for this release on the Press Site.




As one of the nation’s top online real estate destinations, inspires consumers to dream big. From affordable houses to luxurious estates, condos, apartment rentals and more, features more than 3 million property listings and exclusive distribution of over 20,000 apartment listings from in a user-friendly format, making finding your next home easy. Visitors to the blog will find a collection of rich information and posts on DIY projects, painting, organization tips and more, providing the ultimate resource for everything home related. From finding your first apartment to buying your first home, upgrading, downsizing and everything in between, is an inspiring and engaging partner in every phase of the home buying or renting process.


Visit and download the Mobile App, Rentals Mobile App, or Mortgage Calculator to assist in your home search. For home decor tips and more, visit


For an in-depth look at this unique generation of renters and helpful tips for marketing to them, download the “Marketing to Today’s Student Renter” white paper today!

About™™ is an all-inclusive apartment finder specifically designed for students and parents looking for off-campus housing. guides both students and parents through the search steps of finding the ideal off-campus apartment by offering a variety of search options based on specific wants or needs. Both groups can search off-campus housing with, the mobile site or video using filters such as location, budget, leases, amenities and more. also provides an interactive social community for students and parents, so that they can gain insight while searching as well as share their own experiences.

Please follow and like us:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)