Austin Named as One of Top Ten U.S. Cities for New College Graduates

Late spring brings way more than just May flowers, crawfish season, pollen season, and the hallowed calling in sick on warm Mondays season. It also brings hordes of college grads—newly minted, freshly attired, all eagerly searching for cool gigs and great places to begin their life journey in earnest.

Pop culture may make it seem that every last one of the nation’s 1.9 million new graduates is designing web pages and apps in a huge loft or trendy co-working space in the middle of a coastal major metropolis. And there are a few grains of truth in this— about 1 in every 10 millennials does, in fact, live in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, or San Francisco. But it's a big country out there. And if millennials (and their successors, Gen Z) have taught us anything, it's that they're not so easy to put into a box.

Software engineering jobs are indeed hot. But so are customer service gigs, recruitment careers, and graphic design, according to LinkedIn. College grads are also becoming investment banking analysts and accountants.

No wonder weighing the pros and cons of where to to live after college can feel like yet another late night, Adderall-fueled research project. But we're here to help.®'s crack team of data analysts figured out the best metros for new college grads by looking at the things they care about the most—the most in-demand job opportunities and affordable housing, combined with the kinds of fun amenities that make a city livable.

However idealistic, most of today's bright-eyed young’uns are all too aware of an economy that remains challenging for entry-level workers, despite big gains over the last few years. Roughly half of recent grads have jobs that aren’t related to their degrees, according to Accenture, a management consulting company. That means they're more likely to follow their wallets to whichever metro holds the best job prospects.

"It's all a matter of finding where the opportunities are," says career coach Roy Cohen, author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” "For some jobs, options are as bright, if not brighter, [in smaller cities]. And their cost of living is cheaper.”

To come up with the top spots for new grads, we looked at the country's 200 largest metros. We then crunched and U.S. Census Bureau data to factor in:

  • Percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Percentage of millennial residents
  • New business growth
  • Home price estimates
  • Rental home affordability
  • Percentage of single people
  • Percentage of unemployed millennials
  • Percentage of fast-growing occupations popular with young professionals
  • Number of bars and restaurants per capita

Got it? School's out! Let's get down to business.

Austin, TX

Millennial population: 523,490
Median home price: $392,000
Median one-bedroom apartment rent: $1,150

How many people from Austin does it take to change a light bulb? Longtime residents will tell you it takes three: one to change the bulb and two to explain how light bulbs worked better before everyone started moving to Austin. It’s true, the city has seen its population almost double in the last quarter-century, breeding some resentment from the old-timers. But that growth has also brought a ton of new business to the state's quirkiest city.

As might be expected, the home of the University of Texas’ flagship campus ranks high on the percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree. Its music, bar, and breakfast taco scene is the envy of almost every city in the U.S.

But while Austin plays hard, it also earned top marks for new business creation. And it’s sixth in the nation when it comes to expanding into fast-growing job sectors popular with millennials, such as financial analysis and graphic design.

The article and the image featured in this blog post first appeared in


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