The Best Cities for New College Grads in 2013

Forbes
Houston
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Houston, Texas


We’ve all heard the stories or experienced them first-hand. The 24-year-old with a political science degree working as a barista at Starbucks. The math major waiting tables at the diner. The English B.A. living with her parents because she can’t find a teaching job.

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To be sure, your prospects are even worse if you only have a high school diploma. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for high school grads age 20 to 24 with no college under their belts was 17.9% in 2012, compared to 7.7% for those with college degrees. But it’s still rough out there for college grads, and student debt burdens continue to rise. Those who graduated in 2011 are carrying an average of $26,600 in debt, according to the non-profit Project on Student Debt. That’s up from $25,000 the previous year. Meantime, though wages for new grads ticked up in the last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, over the long run pay has come down. According to a 2012 study by the Economic Policy Institute, the hourly wage for new college grads fell over the last decade by 11% for men, to $21.68 and 6.7% for women, to $18.80.

With those challenging statistics in mind, in some cities it easier for new college grads to find both a job and affordable rental housing. A new ranking from Rent.com, a rental housing listing site, looks at the top 25 markets with the most rental listings, and then compares figures for unemployment, cost of living and annual mean wages. The research relies on information from the BLS, the Census Bureau and Rent.com’s own apartment rental database.  From those numbers, Rent.com came up with a list of ten cities where young grads would be most likely to find housing, work and a reasonable paycheck. Rent.com gave double weight to the unemployment rate. Here are Rent.com’s top ten cities for college graduates, with unemployment and wage figures from the BLS. These are the top ten cities, in no particular order:

Atlanta, Ga.
Mean annual income: $46,600
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 8.4%

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Boston, Mass.
Mean annual income: $57,500
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,590
Unemployment rate: 5.9%

Houston, Texas
Mean annual income: $47,500
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 6%

Denver, Colo.
Mean annual income: $50,300
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $970
Unemployment rate: 7.4%

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
Mean annual income: $49,800
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900
Unemployment rate: 5.1%

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Seattle, Wash.
Mean annual income: $54,800
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,300
Unemployment rate: 6.7%

Dallas, Texas
Mean annual income: $46,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900
Unemployment rate: 5.9%

Raleigh, N.C.
Mean annual income: $45,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 7.5%

Washington, D.C.
Mean annual income: $62,900
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,600
Unemployment rate: 5.2%

St. Louis, Mo.
Mean annual income: $44,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $960
Unemployment rate: 7%

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