Close Close
Popular Financial Topics Discover relevant content from across the suite of ALM legal publications From the Industry More content from ThinkAdvisor and select sponsors Investment Advisor Issue Gallery Read digital editions of Investment Advisor Magazine Tax Facts Get clear, current, and reliable answers to pressing tax questions
Luminaries Awards

12 Worst US Cities to Start a Career

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

(Related: 12 Best US Cities to Start a Career)

Those fresh out of college and ready to launch themselves into the working world have plenty of concerns, as well as youthful optimism and enthusiasm. For one thing, there’s all the student debt they’ve probably amassed, in addition to the quest for the best opportunities for advancement in their chosen fields — at the optimum salary, of course.

But there are plenty of other factors that can make or break an early career: how much of that salary will go toward housing and commuting, how much for meals, how easy or tough it is to get to work and whether they’ll actually be able to find a job in the profession they’ve trained for. A low unemployment rate, just 3.8% as of March, and employers hungry for new workers — they plan to hire almost 17% more 2019 grads than they did 2018 grads — means there should be plenty of opportunities.

But will those opportunities be the right ones, providing a full-time job at a decent salary in a place where grads won’t be scraping the bottom of the barrel for every dime just to put food on the table or gas in the car? It can be a lot easier in some places than in others, and WalletHub checked things out, crunching the numbers on 182 cities to evaluate such things as cost of living, commuter friendliness and the number of job openings.

With data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sharecare,, Glassdoor, Eventbrite, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Equality of Opportunity Project, Council for Community & Economic Research, United States Conference of Mayors, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Chmura Economics & Analytics, Center for Neighborhood Technology and its own research, WalletHub scored each city on 29 different factors that fall into two different categories: Professional Opportunities and Quality of Life.

New job hunters might want to check out the gallery above for the 12 worst places to launch their careers, lest they end up in cities with few jobs, high costs or an atmosphere that will make them want to run screaming for the exits.

— Related on ThinkAdvisor: