Cities Journal

These Are Best American Cities For Grad Students


Being a college graduate is complicated. On the one hand, it is that time in your life when you really become a bona fide grown up, and on the other, it is also that time in your life when you really become a bona fide grown up.

It is that time to take reins of your existence and becomie a full-fledged member of society. This also means finding a place to live, thinking about a job and actually taking in the city around you.

It goes without saying that some U.S. cities are more suitable for the college grad and Jill Krasny from, together with some colleagues, did some research into which American cities are the best choice for grads.

Hey started from the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ cities that added the most jobs over the 12 month period before the research and then they compared them based on the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment and the cost of living. They also factored in the quality of life in these cities, as provided by Walk Score.

They ended up with 15 of the best American cities for college grads.

Miami, Florida made it to #15, even though a one-bedroom apartment is going to set you back about $1,750 a month on average. However, the city is definitely among the cooler in the U.S. and there is no shortage of new jobs being added on daily basis.

San Diego, California is in spot No. 14, with a great result in the livability category and an overall laid back approach to life. It is great for fan of the outdoors and the only problem is that a monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages about $1,600, which is a lot for a city like San Diego.

Orlando, Florida is far more affordable, with one-bedroom apartments that you can get for under $1,000. It is a city that is really working on becoming cooler and also a city that knows how to create new jobs. It made it to spot #13.

San Francisco, California managed to squeeze on the list at #12 despite the fact that rent costs are simply astronomical there, at $3,500 for a one-bedroom apartment. Still, that’s where the tech jobs are and where tech grads want to be.

In the eleventh place, we find San Bernardino, California, one of the most affordable cities on the list, with a monthly apartment rent in the vicinity of $700. It may not boast all the jobs that San Fran does, but it is a fantastic place to live for cheap.


Austin, Texas has become one of the coolest cities in the U.S. over the last decade or so and it also did not forget to bring in some jobs. It is still somewhat affordable ($1,200 a month for a one-bedroom apartment) and a beacon of independent thought in an otherwise conservative state of Texas.

In the ninth spot, we find Atlanta, Georgia; a city on the rise. The city boasts a steady economy which offers plenty of job opportunities and despite the fact you will need a car to get around, it is also a very outdoorsy kind of city. A one-bedroom apartment will set you back around $1,300 a month.

San Antonio, Texas boasts fantastically affordable living ($820 a month) and a great outdoorsy lifestyle. The job market is not as strong as in Texas or some other cities on our list, but there is always a job to be had near Alamo.

Jacksonville, Florida is often overlooked, but its beaches and its laid back charm still put it at #7. With more than reasonable rent costs ($800) and a budding economy, it might just be the perfect city for a grad.

Detroit, Michigan is starting to recover while the rent prices are still historically low ($620 a month). It is once again attracting young people and jobs. Motor City is back and a great choice for any grad at #6.

Chicago, Illinois is not cheap because you will need almost $1,700 to cover monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment. Still, thanks to the amazing quality of life and the fact that it is packed with jobs for the highly educated, the Windy City still made it to the fifth spot.

New York City, New York made the list, naturally, but it only made it to #4. Its relatively low ranking is due to the insane rent prices where you will need upwards of $3,300 to pay for a tiny one-bedroom apartment. Still, it is New York, with all its job opportunities and wonders.

The bronze goes to Los Angeles, California with its crazy nightlife and overall quality of life (if you are able to tolerate the traffic). You are also never short on jobs in LA, even though you will need to pay almost $2,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania only barely missed the top spot. You will need around $1,300 a month for the rent in the City of Brotherly Love, but it is worth it. The city is one of the more cultural in the U.S. and its food scene is on the rise. Graduates should also have no troubles finding a job in Philly.

Finally, in the very top spot, we find Phoenix, Arizona, a city that combines cheap rent, abundance of jobs and an outdoorsy disposition. Oh, did we mention great weather? Because it has that too. Phoenix may have suffered a strong blow during the Financial Crisis, but it has definitely bounced back in every respect apart in rent prices.


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