The 10 best and worst cities in America to start a career

Recent college grads hoping to avoid moving back in with mom and dad might try relocating to Denver or Minneapolis

By Elizabeth Preza
Published May 17, 2016 8:30AM (EDT)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


As the newest crop of college graduates leave the warm embrace of higher education for the cold, harsh reality of the post-grad life, it's natural to get bogged down by fear of unemployment, monthly bills, and of course, student loan debt. But while remnants of the the "boomerang generation" (thanks for that label, btw) remain, this year's graduating class may have a reason to celebrate.

Despite all the sometimes daunting statistics, college-educated young people might not be as screwed as previously thought. The unemployment rate among college graduates with a bachelor's degree or higher continues to fall; last month, only 2.4 percent of college graduates were unemployed, compared with 5.2 at the height of the recession. And employers this year are on track to hire 11 percent more college grads than they did in 2015. College graduates by and large are feeling more optimistic about the economy and their career prospects.

Still, determining where to head off to as a career-oriented post-grad is one of the more difficult decisions young whippersnappers must make. To assist in the process, the personal finance site WalletHub analyzed 17 key metrics from the 150 largest U.S. cities to determine the 10 best and worst cities for college grads. The criteria measured "professional opportunities," including job-market strength, unemployment rate and economic mobility, as well as "quality of life" rankings, including median annual income, housing affordability and strength of social ties.

Check out the best and worst cities below, and find out where your city ranks atWalletHub.

Best Cities to Start a Career

  1. Salt Lake City, UT
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Austin, TX
  4. Sioux Falls, SD
  5. Minneapolis, MN
  6. Raleigh, NC
  7. Oklahoma City, OK
  8. Amarillo, TX
  9. Houston, TX
  10. Corpus Christi, TX

Worst Cities to Start a Career

  1. Mobile, AL
  2. Philadelphia, PA
  3. Glendale, CA
  4. Modesto, CA
  5. North Las Vegas, NV
  6. Hialeah, FL
  7. Akron, OH
  8. Moreno Valley, CA
  9. Fresno, CA
  10. Detroit, MI

Some more fun facts to factor into your decision:

  • Austin, Texas, has the lowest unemployment rate, 2.8 percent, which is four times lower than in Fresno, Calif., the city with the highest, 11.4 percent.
  • Jersey City, N.J., has the highest percentage of the population aged 25 to 34, 22.5 percent, which is slightly more than two times higher than in Cape Coral, Fla., the city with the lowest, 10.3 percent.
  • Irvine, Calif., has the highest percentage of the population withat least a bachelor’s degree, 65.6 percent, which is nearly six times higher than in San Bernardino, Calif., the city with the lowest, 11.7 perce
  • Orlando, Fla., has the highest number of entry-level job openings per 100,000 working-age residents, 311.31, which is 39 times higher than in North Las Vegas, Nev., the city with the lowest, 7.99.
  • Oxnard, Calif., has the highest workforce diversity, which is slightly more than two times higher than in Durham, N.C., the city with the lowest.

Elizabeth Preza

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