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15 Best Cities for New College Graduates: 2022

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Related: 12 Most Livable Midsize Cities in the U.S.

New college graduates moving to a new city may have needs that differ from those of the broader public, according to a recent report from Insurify, a platform that compares home insurance.

Many new graduates are looking for their first full-time jobs, so will focus on a metropolitan area’s unemployment rate. Even if they have secured a job, a city’s affordability is a big consideration for young professionals on an entry-level salary.

Also important are a robust public transit system and a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. Every city has a lot to offer its residents, but some will have greater appeal than others for young adults. With this in mind, Insurify’s data scientists crunched the numbers to identify the best cities in the U.S. for new graduates in 2022.

Using publicly accessible data, they ranked cities based on a composite score of factors that included unemployment rate, cost of living, one-bedroom apartment rental prices, ease of alternative transportation and the number of arts and entertainment establishments per 100,000 residents.

They gave a higher overall appeal score to metro areas with a lower unemployment rate, cost of living and one-bedroom rental costs, and a higher transportation score and higher number of arts and entertainment venues per capita.

The research came up with an average overall appeal score for new graduates of 46.1 out of 100 across all U.S. metropolitan areas, based on a combination of these factors:

  • 3.8% U.S. unemployment rate in June
  • Average of $1,185 per month one-bedroom apartment rent as of July
  • Average of 133 arts and entertainment venues per 100,000 residents
  • An alternative transit score (measuring ease of travel without a motor vehicle) of 36.5 out of 100

The researchers also found a significant positive correlation between a city’s population size and its overall appeal score, even though they did not explicitly consider population size when ranking the best cities for new graduates.

They also found that although big cities tend to have higher rents and overall costs of living, they are also significantly more likely to have more arts and entertainment venues per capita and typically offer much better options for commuting without a motor vehicle. They found no significant relationship between the unemployment rate and a city’s population size.

See the gallery for the 15 best cities for new college graduates in 2022.