There are few things that compare to that exhilarating feeling as you walk across the stage, knowing that you are leaving college for the last time. As you begin to plan your new life, job and everything else that comes next, it can be difficult to decide on the best place to live. For those of you wanting to venture further than your hometown, here is a list of the best cities to live as a recent college graduate, and why you should live there.  

It looks like the Northeast is the place to be for young college grads, with its high LinkedIn New Grad Index score and high share of affordable housing stock, according to a report from Trulia.

The Northeast, in addition to these reasons, also has a high population of young college graduates already living there, according to the report.

In the report, Trulia teamed up with LinkedIn to determine an areas score by combining the LinkedIn New Grad Job Score, which rates metros based on the share of job openings suitable for recent college graduates, with Trulia’s New Grad Affordability Score, which is the share of rental units considered as affordable to a new grad based on the median salary, and finally, the share of the total population that is between 22 and 30 that have a college degree.

Of the top ten metropolitan areas that are best for recent college graduates, all are east of the Rockies and nine are either on or east of the Mississippi River.

Here is a list of the top 10 metropolitan areas that are best for young college graduates:

10. Cincinnati, Ohio

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.63

In contrast with the rest of the state, Cincinnati’s climate is warmer in the summer. Its hot humid climate draws many to eat out on patios near the river, according to an article by my move.


9. Chicago, Illinois

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.67

If moving to Chicago, huge snow storms will become a part of your life every winter. During these times, many residents practice something called “Dibs,” according to an article by Katie McLaughlin for CNN. This is where residents shovel out their parking spot during the snow storms, and leave chair, tables or some item to reserve their spot for the day. While some residents respect these unspoken rules, others get angry.

Chicago skyline

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.67

Philadelphia, though the sixth largest city in the U.S., has the feel of a giant college town due to is 85 colleges and universities, according to an article by the Atacan Group. It is rated one of the five most walkable cities in the U.S., and those who live in downtown can get to anything you need within 2 miles.

philadelphia map

7. Nashville, Tennessee

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.68

Although possibly most know for its country music, music of any kind can be found in what has been nicknamed Music City, according to an article by Laura Hill for Livability. Musicians play their live music, including country, rock, pop, Americana and more all across the city.


6. Montgomery, Bucks, Chester counties, Pennsylvania

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.69

These counties boast peaceful scenery and lots of culture, according to an article by Movoto. Buck County, in fact, was the location of some of Stephen King’s stories. Now, local theaters and pubs show off the culture of the area.

state of pennsylvania

5. Columbus, Ohio

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.73

In addition to the state’s many colleges and universities, 62 to be exact, it also has a strong presence in professional sports. Residents have many teams and sports to choose from in in the state, including the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals from the National Football League, the Columbus Blue Jackets from the National Hockey League, the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds from Major League Baseball and the Cleveland Cavaliers from the National Basketball Association


4. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.74

This city is home to 197 parks, and is ranked no. 1 in the nation for its park system, according to a blog by Estately Blog. Outdoor recreation is very common in the city, and about 94% of the city’s population lives within 10 minutes of a park.

Minneapolis Skyline

3. Kansas City, Missouri

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.75

There’s never a loss of things to do in this city that resides in two states, Missouri and Kansas. The city is home to 200 fountains to explore, and claims that only Rome has more, according to an article by Emily Becker for mental_floss. When designing the city, architects claimed the wanted to create a city with, “More boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome.”

kansas city

2. Indianapolis, Indiana

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.8

Those thinking of moving to Indianapolis better buckle up for the ride as they enter the home of the Motor Speedway. Although not everyone necessarily loves racing, the city comes alive with the festivities that surround the event, according to a blog by Travis Sawrie for Movoto real estate blog.


1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Graduate Opportunity Index: 0.85 

Pittsburgh is the number one place to live for recent college graduates, and it’s not hard to see why! The city has three rivers in which you can canoe or paddle boat.  The city also values clean air, not only boasts one of the greenest buildings in the world, Phipps Conservatory, but also PNC is building the greenest skyscraper, according to an article by Joe Vennare for Fitt PGH.


This chart shows the top ten cities for highest median income, and shows the median rent estimate in each of those cities:

Click to Enlarge


(Source: Trulia)