While the struggles America's youth have endured in recent years pale in comparison with those of their peers in Spain and Greece, where youth unemployment rates in excess of 50% have spawned great social unrest, finding a job, let alone laying the foundation for a long and prosperous career, is far from simple in the current economic climate. With many employers adopting a wait-and-see approach to both the economic recovery and Obamacare, and with many young people refusing to adjust expectations in the face of stiff competition, the effective unemployment rate for Americans ages 18-29 is 15.5%.
There is nevertheless reason for optimism among the graduating class of 2014, as well as the scores of young people who have become so disillusioned with the job market that they have given up their search for employment. Not only do more employers plan to hire recent college grads this year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, but hiring in general is also on the rise.
Increased hiring obviously doesn't guarantee employment, though. Young people still must learn how to maximize their employability. In addition to customizing cover letters and making social-media accounts safe for work, that could very well entail finding a new place to live and work.
While Americans in their 20s are now 40% less likely to move than they were 30 years ago, according to U.S. Census data, employment opportunities do vary significantly based on simple geography. So, to help recent college graduates find the best cradles for their burgeoning careers, WalletHub analyzed the 150 largest cities in the U.S. to determine the relative strength of their job markets, the attractiveness of their social scenes, and various other factors that are important to new job market entrants. A complete breakdown of our findings and additional information about the methodology we used to conduct this study follows.
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Quality of Life Rank
Professional Opportunities Rank
|12||St. Paul, Minn.||36||14|
|13||Salt Lake City||15||45|
|18||Jersey City, N.J.||47||11|
|20||Overland Park, Kan.||29||40|
|27||Fort Worth, Texas||63||18|
|35||Kansas City, Mo.||48||35|
|42||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.||42||53|
|44||San Jose, Calif.||112||7|
|45||Colorado Springs, Colo.||51||56|
|48||Grand Prairie, Texas||103||10|
|49||Pembroke Pines, Fla.||99||17|
|51||Corpus Christi, Texas||105||13|
|53||Santa Clarita, Calif.||88||26|
|57||Huntington Beach, Calif.||114||19|
|62||Des Moines, Iowa||77||53|
|63||Grand Rapids, Mich.||40||101|
|64||Little Rock, Ark.||38||97|
|66||Sioux Falls, S.D.||20||116|
|70||Long Beach, Calif.||128||22|
|T-72||Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.||100||43|
|80||Newport News, Va.||111||49|
|85||Virginia Beach, Va.||55||110|
|T-93||Boise City, Idaho||45||121|
|103||Garden Grove, Calif.||149||15|
|108||Chula Vista, Calif.||139||58|
|110||St. Petersburg, Fla.||113||94|
|115||Santa Ana, Calif.||145||48|
|118||Santa Rosa, Calif.||127||89|
|121||Cape Coral, Fla.||134||79|
|123||El Paso, Texas||133||95|
|129||Moreno Valley, Calif.||141||92|
|131||Fort Wayne, Ind.||86||137|
|136||North Las Vegas, Nev.||122||127|
|147||San Bernardino, Calif.||148||126|
|149||Port St. Lucie, Fla.||146||139|
WalletHub analyzed and ranked the 150 most populous cities in the United States based on the following 18 metrics, which were designed to collectively represent most of the issues that young people have in mind when looking for a place to put down roots, from professional opportunities to the odds of finding a mate. The two following overall categories, however, were intended for organizational purposes only. In other words, they were used to group the metrics but were not taken into account when deciding the weight assigned to each metric.
Quality of life
- Average annual income, adjusted for cost of living: 1
- Arts, leisure, and recreation establishments per 100,000 inhabitants: 1
- Percentage of the population ages 25-34: 1
- Mating opportunities (share of population that has never been married): 1
- Strength of social ties: 1
- Percentage of the population with a bachelor's degree or higher: 1
- Population growth: 0.5
- Average two-bedroom rent: 0.5
- Housing costs: 0.5
- Number of entry-level jobs per 100,000 inhabitants: 1
- Monthly median starting salary: 1
- Technology jobs as a percentage of total city employment: 1
- Annual job growth, adjusted for population growth: 1
- Median income growth rate: 1
- Economic mobility: 1
- Workforce diversity: 1
- Current unemployment rate: 0.5
- Entrepreneurial activity: 0.5
Sources: The information used to construct this report is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sharecare, Indeed.com, the Equality of Opportunity Project, and WalletHub research.