The 10 Best Places for New College Grads to Call Home

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Graduation from college truly marks the beginning of adult life. Many grads hope to make their mark on the world by moving to a new city as they enter the workforce.

But which city is best for these degree-holders? Recently, real estate website Zillow looked at the best markets for new college graduates based on an analysis of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas.

Zillow ranked the metros based on five categories:

  • Rent affordability
  • Rent concessions
  • Recent graduate incomes
  • Job openings
  • Share of 20-something residents

Based on those factors, here are the best markets for today’s graduates.

10. Austin, Texas

Downtown Austin, Texas
Silvio Ligutti / Shutterstock.com

Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 32%

Share of population ages 21-29: 13.9%

Job market ranking: 64 out of 100

Austin is renowned for its music scene, and the city has a vibrant economy. Austin is the capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas.

9. Spokane, Washington

Washington dam
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 28.2%

Share of population ages 21-29: 11.8%

Job market ranking: 18 out of 100

You might hear Spokane before you see it: The deafening roar of the Spokane Waterfalls peaks in May. Visit Riverfront Park and take a ride on the 1909 Looff Carrousel.

8. Denver

woman running in winter
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Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 34%

Share of population ages 21-29: 13.5%

Job market ranking: 71 out of 100

Denver is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains and all they have to offer. You can also take in a concert at the Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater or stroll through the 4,000 acres of city parks in the Mile High City.

7. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 30.9%

Share of population ages 21-29: 12.1%

Job market ranking: 72 out of 100

The Raleigh area is home to three major universities: North Carolina University in Raleigh, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University in Durham. Raleigh’s 180 miles of greenways helped earn it the title of the City of Oaks.

6. Dallas

Dallas, Texas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 31.6%

Share of population ages 21-29: 12.9%

Job market ranking: 54 out of 100

Dallas is part of the largest metropolitan area in the South. Its numerous shopping venues include Highland Park Village, the first planned shopping center in the United States, which opened for business in 1931.

5. Portland, Oregon

Homes in Portland, Oregon
Rigucci / Shutterstock.com

Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 29%

Share of population ages 21-29: 12%

Job market ranking: 80 out of 100

Portland is widely known as the most bike-friendly city in the U.S. It is also home to Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the U.S.

4. San Antonio

San Antonio in winter
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Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 28.8%

Share of population ages 21-29: 12.9%

Job market ranking: 30 out of 100

The iconic San Antonio River Walk might be the top place to have fun in San Antonio. The Tex-Mex food in this city is among the best in the country.

3. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 32.9%

Share of population ages 21-29: 13.9%

Job market ranking: 12 out of 100

Colorado Springs is a nature lover’s dream. From hiking up Pikes Peak, one of America’s best-known mountains, to zooming across the Royal Gorge on the nation’s highest zip line, the opportunities for outdoor adventure are endless.

2. Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 28.9%

Share of population ages 21-29: 12.2%

Job market ranking: 4 out of 100

Albuquerque is famous for its hot air balloon rides. You can also take a kayak on the waters of the Rio Grande River or visit museums, shops and restaurants in Old Town.

1. Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona
Anton Foltin / Shutterstock.com

Share of median entry-level income spent on typical rent: 34.5%

Share of population ages 21-29: 13%

Job market ranking: 2 out of 100

Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. It is home to a warm, sunny climate and world-class golf courses. The 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden puts more than 50,000 desert plants in the spotlight.

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