TIME Career Strategies

Top 10 Best Cities to Start a New Career

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Photography by Bridget Calip—Getty Images/Flickr RF

New graduates with a choice may want to start their career in one of these fun and affordable cities.

As a new set of college graduates prepares to enter the workforce, one thing on their mind will be finding a place to call home. Boomeranging back to Mom and Dad’s house may work for a while. But your career could take you elsewhere. Besides, it’s a lot more fun on your own.

One strategy is to simply move wherever you find work. With jobs still relatively scarce five years into the recovery, many new grads will go that route, no questions asked. But for those who want to be a little more thoughtful about where they set up their new life, Apartments.com has complied a list of the best cities for new and recent graduates.

The list takes into account affordability; it favors cities where the average rent for a one-bedroom unit is less than 25% of gross median income. Career opportunity is a big consideration; no cities with unemployment above 7% make the cut. The list also takes demographics into account; weight is given to cities with more people aged 25-29. If you are setting up house for the first time, and have choices, this list may be a decent place to start:

  • Denver Average single-bedroom apartment rent is on the high side: $1,248. But the unemployment rate is just 4.3%, compared to 6.7% nationally, and there is a thriving singles culture with one in eight residents aged 25 to 29.
  • Charlotte Average rent (one bedroom, throughout the list): $953. Young people enjoy the southern culture amid a major urban area and high density (11.1%) of those aged 25 to 29.
  • Phoenix Average rent is just $842. Yet residents have the highest median household income of all cities on the list: $81,349.
  • Austin, Texas Average rent: $1,188. There’s no shortage of entertainment in “The Live Music Capital of the World” and with unemployment at just 3.3%, there’s also no shortage of jobs.
  • Columbus, Ohio Average rent: $732. This is a bustling Midwest college town that scores big on the singles scene with high percentages of male-only (7%) and female-only (14.9%) households.
  • Cincinnati Average rent is extraordinarily low for a major city with many large employers including Kroger and Procter and Gamble: $707.
  • Fort Worth, Texas Average rent: $864. The cost of living is low and so is the unemployment rate at just 4.5%.
  • Indianapolis Another large city with low average rent: $946 and high density (11.1%) of those aged 25 to 29.
  • Las Vegas The gaming culture here is not for everyone but with the city’s housing market still recovering from the bust average rents are just $897. It might be worth a gamble.
  • Dallas Average rent: $1,178. This city has lots of sun, large employers including AT&T and Exxon Mobil, and an impressive unemployment rate of just 4.3%.

 

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