Whether you were among the millions of graduates that donned a cap and gown this month or just watched the commencement speech highlight reels, it’s clear the annual post-college population shift has hit. Ambition and blind faith will launch thousands of newly minted professionals into major and minor metros across the country to start careers. Regional opportunities can be crucial, as anyone launching a tech startup in Silicon Valley may attest, but general offerings can be just as important.
According to The Daily Beast’s second annual ranking of the best cities for recent college graduates, many of American’s most livable cities for those seeking low rents, cheap eats, good job prospects, and decent pay are not the traditional destinations of New York City or Los Angeles. Austin has a huge rental market, Savannah is packed with those in their early 20s, and Seattle bears a boast-worthy cost of living. In general, it seems grads should try to unpack their bags in the South, where cost of living is low, job growth is strong, and average earnings are high.
To put together the list of the top towns for recent graduates, we looked at the cities through the lens of the basics of quality of life: housing, employment, affordability, and relationships. The cities that land among the top 25 have relatively low unemployment, high average salary per capita, a low cost of living, a high portion of housing units devoted to rental properties, and a large population between ages 22 and 24. Figures were drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, C2Er, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Census.