The 10 Best State Capitals for Starting a Career

Young employee at first job
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This story originally appeared on Zippia.

When it comes to starting your career, you want to start out on the right foot.

From low unemployment rates and rent averages to high salary rates, we found state capitals that want you to succeed when it comes to entering their workforces.

We looked at all 50 capitals and ranked them on the following areas:

  • Median income
  • Average rent
  • Unemployment

All of our data came from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.

These cities are state capitals for a reason. Maybe it’s time for you to find out why. Treat yourself by starting a career in one of the following capitals.

1. Pierre, South Dakota

Pierre, South Dakota
dustin77a /

Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
Earnings: $37,669
Rent: $617

Pierre, South Dakota, is at the top of the list when it comes to starting your career.

That’s because it ranks first in the nation for cheap rent. At $617 a month, it truly doesn’t get any better than that.

If that wasn’t enough to sell you on Pierre, then having the second-lowest unemployment rate in the U.S. of 2.2% might be enough. Here we come, Pierre!

2. Bismarck, North Dakota

North Dakota Capitol
Ace Diamond /

Unemployment Rate: 1.9%
Earnings: $39,300
Rent: $850

The second-best state capital to start your career is Bismarck, North Dakota.

With an unemployment rate of 1.9%, you’ll have no problem finding a job here.

Plus, with the average salary at $39,300, you’ll be able to pay that $850 rent easily enough.

3. Jefferson City, Missouri

Missouri legislature
Nagel Photography /

Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Earnings: $31,212
Rent: $621

Just outside of the Mizzou college town of Columbia, Jefferson City, Missouri, awaits your arrival.

The capital city features the second-lowest rent average of $621.

4. Montpelier, Vermont

Montpelier, Vermont
Nagel Photography /

Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Earnings: $41,027
Rent: $992

Montpelier, Vermont, is the fourth-best state capital city for your career to take off.

The second-highest salary rate of $41,027 is here, and you won’t want to miss out on that.

Plus with a 3.9% unemployment rate and $992 average rent, Montpelier is living up to the hype.

5. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas
Henryk Sadura /

Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Earnings: $32,751
Rent: $850

If the BBQ food wasn’t enough to make you want to move, maybe these other factors will convince you: A 4.3% unemployment rate. The average salary of $32,751.

For us, though, it’s the $850 average rent. We wish our rent was that cheap!

6. Helena, Montana

Montana Capitol
Katherine Welles /

Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Earnings: $30,450
Rent: $818

At No. 6, Helena, Montana, has a whole lot to offer in terms of careers.

The unemployment rate of 3.3% is the third-lowest in the country.

And the average monthly rent of $818 isn’t that far behind either.

7. Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska capitol building
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Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Earnings: $30,065
Rent: $822

Lincoln, Nebraska, is the seventh-best state capital to start your career.

From the fifth-lowest unemployment rate to the 10th-lowest monthly rent, you’d be living here practically stress-free.

8. Topeka, Kansas

Topeka, Kansas
Henryk Sadura /

Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
Earnings: $31,013
Rent: $790

Kansas may get a bad rap for being too flat (boring to drive through), but we think you should give it a chance. Especially when it comes to starting a career.

Topeka, Kansas, is a great place to start with its $790 average rent and 5% unemployment rate.

9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City
Henryk Sadura /

Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
Earnings: $31,434
Rent: $849

Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. That’s not all you’ll be singing about in the state’s capital, though.

Oklahoma City has lots to offer for those who are just starting out in their careers, like an average salary of $31,434 and low monthly rent of $849.

10. Cheyenne, Wyoming

Wyoming Capitol
David Gilder /

Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Earnings: $36,684
Rent: $898

There are a lot of great things about Cheyenne, Wyoming, and one of those is the career potential.

Cheyenne features one of the highest average salaries on this list at $36,684. And with rent only averaging $898, you won’t have any problems living here.

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