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Southern states rank the best for new college grads

Despite a sputtering economy, graduates are often in the fastest position to relocate and many do so based not only on quality of living and cost factors but on the promise of employment that pays well.

Recently, the “Best Cities for College Graduates” list highlighted the top cities according to salaries, unemployment, strength of job opportunities, and cost of living. You’ll see in the list that it leans toward the South (which we can agree with based on AgentGenius headquarters being based in Austin, TX which ranked in the top five).

The top 30 cities for new college grads

Interestingly, the top 10 didn’t include the stereotypical cities one would include (although the Bostons and New Yorks are in the top 30), and 40% of the top 10 is ruled by Texas cities. We were interested to see two Oklahoma cities in the top 15 and noted that a good portion of these cities are well known for affordability and livability. Where does your city rank and what do you think of this list?

  1. Houston, TX
  2. Washington, DC
  3. Dallas, TX
  4. Atlanta, GA
  5. Austin, TX
  6. Minneapolis, MN
  7. Pittsburgh, PA
  8. Denver, CO
  9. Columbus, OH
  10. Fort Worth, TX
  11. Boston, MA
  12. New York, NY
  13. Tulsa, OK
  14. Oklahoma City, OK
  15. Kansas City, KS
  16. Philadelphia, PA
  17. Cleveland, OH
  18. Charlotte, NC
  19. Phoenix, AZ
  20. Dayton, OH
  21. Salt Lake City, UT
  22. Milwaukee, WI
  23. Cincinnati, OH
  24. San Antonio, TX
  25. Richmond, VA
  26. Knoxville, TN
  27. Tucson, AZ
  28. Seattle, WA
  29. Portland, OR
  30. Tampa, FL

BusinessWeek’s Methodology: “Starting with the cities with the largest numbers of employers posting entry-level positions on the AfterCollege site, Bloomberg Businessweek compiled the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on each city’s average annual pay and unemployment. From the Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER), we obtained data on the cost of living in each city, which we used to adjust each city’s pay figure. The jobs data and adjusted average annual salary each contributed 40 percent of the final ranking, while unemployment contributed 20 percent. Some cities that appeared in last year’s ranking lacked a sufficient number of job-posting employers and so are absent from this one. Those cities include Chicago, Indianapolis, and Memphis.”

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Property Marbella

    July 26, 2010 at 1:27 am

    All lists are interesting, but dont look to hard on them, it can be so small different thing to be number 15 or 31.

    • Lani Rosales

      July 26, 2010 at 1:49 am

      While I agree with that, college grads are notorious for being well researched and they likely take many of these factors above into account and when all other things are equal, it’s natural to choose a higher ranking city. But again, that’s if all other things are equal to the researcher.

  2. Joe Loomer

    July 26, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Appears not too much weight was giving to cost of living, or the list would look a lot more Southern than it already does.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. stephanie crawford

    July 28, 2010 at 3:19 am

    I can’t believe my city, Nashville TN, didn’t make this list. We did earn #7 this week on Yahoo!’s countdown of “Best Cities for Singles”. You’d think the two would go hand-in-hand??

  4. Dorm Rugs

    July 29, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    You couldn’t pay me to live in most of those cities and some of them have an incredibly high cost of living even for those not just coming out of college. The only 2 on the list I’d even consider are Washington DC because it’s a fun place as long as you don’t need to drive in and out, and Austin. The rest have no appeal at all.

  5. SedonaKathy

    July 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Lani, what is the source of the information?
    I do agree with you that young people are finging the southern states to be the ones most open with jobs and the kind of lifestyle that they want. Good post.

    • Benn Rosales

      July 29, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      Kathy, check the final paragraph, the source is bizweek

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