Best 10 cities for recent college graduates

According to a recent survey of employers, a greater number of companies are planning to hire new college graduates in 2014 than in the last few years. Finding a job after college is imperative for many college seniors, and some cities offer more career opportunities than others. As we approach graduation season, NerdWallet crunched the numbers for 50 of the country's biggest metros to find the best cities in the US for recent college graduates. Can you guess which city came out on top? 

10. Columbus, Ohio

Jay LaPrete/AP/File
Ohio State plays against Florida A&M at Ohio Stadium during an NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is the most affordable city among the top 10 cities for college grads.

Population between 20-29: 20.1 percent

Population 25 or older with a Bachelor's degree: 22.4 percent

Median earnings for Bachelor's degree holders: $44,392

Cost of living index for 2013: 87.2 (As calculated by the Council for Community and Economic Research)

Workers with management, business, science or arts jobs: 38.8 percent

Unemployment rate (Feb. 2014): 5.5 percent

Overall score: 60.84

Perhaps the most attractive feature of Columbus for college grads is affordability—the city’s Cost of Living Index is the lowest of all top ten places. The Central Ohio city’s key industries are manufacturing, logistics, science and technology and business and financial services. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the largest private employer in Columbus, while the State of Ohio and the Ohio State University are the city’s top two public employers.

Nerdwallet considered the following factors in its analysis of the 50 largest cities in the country:

1.    Presence of educated peers: since most fresh grads want to live in places with a high proportion of young people, the study included the percentage of the total population that is between the ages of 20 and 29. We also measured the percentage of the population 25 and over with a Bachelor’s degree.

2.    Income and affordability: Nerdwallet included the median earnings for people with Bachelor’s degrees and also proxied the affordability level in each city with the Cost of Living Index. Cities with relatively higher median incomes and lower Cost of Living Indices ranked higher on our list.

3.    Strength of workforce: To measure the strength of professional industries in the cities, the study included the percentage of the workforce with occupations in the management, business, science and arts industries. We also factored unemployment rates into our analysis to gauge the quality of the local economy.

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