Graduating college is a huge accomplishment, but now you’re eager to jumpstart your career and pay off those pesky student loans. Economic times are tough, and even tougher on college graduates. The Associated Press reported in April that over half of recent college graduates are underemployed or flat-out unemployed. Don’t feel too let down though. In the long run, college grads have a lower risk of staying or being unemployed than those without a diploma. This is why choosing the right city to live in is such a crucial decision. It’ll influence your prospects in the job market and the chances of finding an affordable place to live.
Collaboration between the Census Bureau and Rent.com’s own apartment rental database created a list of the best cities for college grads that offer low unemployment, affordable housing and good average incomes. The cities are also diverse, so it’s really up to you as to whether you’d like to live in a big bustling city or a smaller town that also has a lot to offer.
Here are the six top cities, in no particular order.
Unemployment rate: 5.7%
Mean annual income: $57,520
Boston is a big college town, home to many prestigious universities like MIT, Harvard and Boston University. If you’re nostalgic for being back in a college town setting then this is your place. You’re likely to find a lot of people your age and it’s also a great location if you’re looking to enroll into grad school in one of the many institutions. Boston has a lot of history, so don’t miss out on their museums, and catch a baseball game at Fenway Park.
Unemployment rate: 7%
Mean annual income: $46,160
Dallas, the third largest city in Texas, is known for being a town with urban appeal. It’s home to big companies like Southwest Airlines, AT&T and Dean Foods. Enjoy the low cost of living here. Its cost of living is below the national average, so you can’t go wrong with that. Dallas is a shopaholics paradise, as well. It’s actually the shopping capital of the US with more shopping centers per capita than any other city in the U.S.
Kansas City, MO
Unemployment rate: 7.6%
Median annual income: $72,300
Kansas City is starting to gain the reputation as an eco-friendly town. It’s also known for its delicious barbeque and jazz music. Expect to be in a city with a thriving culture. It also offers diverse job opportunities in hospitality, government, education and health services.
Unemployment rate: 6.1%
Mean annual income: $49,760
With a city that has an unemployment rate below the national average, you can’t go wrong. The city in the land of lakes is perfect for those that love the outdoors. If you don’t mind the snowy winters, this city offers jobs for recent college grads in fields like finance, engineering and manufacturing.
Unemployment rate: 7.8%
Median annual income: $78,800
Raleigh, North Carolina’s capital and second largest city, is home to three local universities. Those pursuing education careers can find jobs here eaily. Also, these universities are also seeking biotech majors for their research facilities. The city offers a temperate climate and nearby Charlotte hosts a lot of Fortune 500 companies.
Unemployment rate: 7.9%
Mean annual income: $54,750
Amazon, Starbucks and Microsoft are just some of the big name Fortune 500 companies that call Seattle home. This city offers jobs in growing industries like education, health, business services and internet technology. It has a well-established foodie scene. It’s also another city with a lot of nature to offer as well as big city buildings. On top of all of that, it has lakes and mountains for the outdoor adventurer.
Looking for a way to compare your cost of living in your current city to one of these listed? Use CNN Money’s cost of living compare tool. It’s a great way to compare cities!