Congratulations class of 2014! You have spent the last four years preparing to receive your college degree, and now that you have officially graduated, you are being forced to face the real world. A world full of bills to pay, responsibility, and harder decisions than whether or not to take a quick study break. Yes, full-on adulthood is in front of you, but with that comes freedom! The freedom to choose what you want to do and where you want to be. While searching for a post-grad plan, you may have your sights set on a number of potential employers all over the world. The question is, where will your job search take you?

A new study by NerdWallet examined criteria in each major U.S. city—such as the job market, average income, affordability and percentage of young people— and came up with the 10 places most appealing to new college graduates.

The best cities for the class of 2014:

1. Washington, D.C.; Median Income for College Grads: $60,104

Of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., Washington, D.C. has the greatest percentage of residents working in management, business, science or arts. The cost of living in the nation’s capital is higher than in most other places, but the high median earnings for college grads and relatively low unemployment rate are reasons why D.C. continues to be a popular destination for those fresh out of college. The high number of government opportunities also ensures that the job market in Washington, D.C. is relatively more immune to economic recessions than in other parts of the country.

2. Seattle, WA; Median Income for College Grads: $50,578

Seattle is one of the most educated places in the country—34.5 percent of the city’s population 25 and over hold a Bachelor’s degree, the highest mark of all 50 cities in the study. The top industries in the city include aerospace, information technology, clean technology and healthcare, while the largest employer is the University of Washington, which also produces more graduates than any other college in Seattle.

3. Minneapolis, MN; Median Income for College Grads: $46,525

Minneapolis boasts the second highest proportion of people between the ages of 20 and 29 of all top ten cities. A high presence of young people and a relatively low unemployment rate are two reasons for the city’s third overall rank in our analysis. The Twin Cities metropolitan area is home to a healthy economy—the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region has 19 Fortune 500 companies, the highest per capita mark of all metropolitan areas in the country. Among Minneapolis’ other major employers is the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, which is the largest university in the state.

4. San Francisco, CA; Median Income for College Grads: $61,426

San Francisco has many attractive features to draw fresh grads to the West Coast, including a well-educated and professional population and an active social scene. The cost of living in San Francisco is extremely high, but it’s somewhat offset by the highest median earnings for those with Bachelor’s degrees of all top ten cities on the list. Major industries include information technology, life sciences, digital media and financial services. Some of the country’s biggest tech giants can be found in the area, such as Google, Twitter, and Salesforce.com.

5. Austin, TX; Median Income for College Grads: $45,023

Austin has a high percentage of young professionals, a well-educated population, an affordable cost of living and a low unemployment rate compared to other large cities in the country. In addition to a lively arts and music scene, Austin is home to the headquarters of some major technology corporations such as Dell and IBM. Contributing to the city’s well-educated workforce are 27 public and private colleges and universities in the region, the largest of which is the University of Texas at Austin.

6. Atlanta, GA; Median Income for College Grads: $50,862

Atlanta boasts a low cost of living and diversity in its major industries, which include trade and transportation, business services, government, education and health services. Some of the city’s largest employers include Atlanta-based Fortune 500 corporations such as Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola and The Home Depot, as well as local universities such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University/Emory Healthcare

7. Raleigh, NC; Median Income for College Grads: $45,495

Raleigh’s population is highly educated, with 31.9 percent of residents 25 and over holding a Bachelor’s degree—the third highest proportion of the nation’s 50 largest cities. Raleigh’s major industries include manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology and green energy. Two of the top employers in the area are SAS Institute, Inc., which is headquartered in the region, and  North Carolina State University.

8. Boston, MA; Median Income for College Grads: $52,119

Boston has the greatest proportion of young professionals of all large cities, with over a quarter of its population being between the ages of 20 and 29. Boston offers an active social life to fresh grads with its highly walkable layout, tons of restaurants and many professional sports teams. The largest industries in the city are healthcare, finance and insurance and education.

9. Denver, CO; Median Income for College Grads: $48,133

Fresh college grads that enjoy the outdoors will be especially drawn to Denver. In addition to its natural and recreational offerings, Denver boasts a high percentage of its population 25 and over that hold a Bachelor’s degree, as well as a moderate cost of living. The top industries in the Mile-High City are aerospace and aviation, broadcasting and telecommunications, energy and healthcare.

10. Columbus, OH; Median Income for College Grads: $44,392

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 The Ohio State University are the city’s top two public employers.

 

So before you start applying for your dream job, take into consideration what area best fits your life and career. Right out of college is the best time to move away, discover yourself, meet new people and jumpstart your career! It’s the perfect time to start fresh and explore new opportunities. Good Luck!

For the full article from Nerd Wallet, click here!

 

Until Next Time,

Jessica M.

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