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What’s the Best City for New College Graduates?

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Recent college graduates have plenty on their minds this summer: The national unemployment rate ticked up last month, and a widening generational wealth gap is making it harder than ever to buy a first home. Where are they supposed to go now?

A new study by Zumper might help. It analyzed the country’s 100 most populous cities to find the best ones for new graduates based on several metrics (where adequate data was available). They include median one-bedroom rents and restaurants per capita, as well as U.S. Census Bureau data on the population of 18-to-34 year olds, the number of 25-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees, the number of single people, the median income of younger residents, and local unemployment rates.

Topping the list was Minneapolis, which had a reasonable median one-bedroom rent ($1,150 a month) and ranked 15th for its unemployment rate (5.2 percent). Oklahoma City’s median rent ($849) was the lowest among the top 15 cities, helping it rank 10th overall. San Francisco ranked fifth thanks to its high median income ($87,946) for people 25 and younger — which helps with its huge median rent ($2,895).

Laredo, Texas, fell to the bottom of the list with its small share of 25-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees. It also ranked low in median income and the number of restaurants per capita. Its higher scores for median rent ($850) and unemployment rate (5.5 percent) weren’t enough to make up for its downsides. Augusta, Ga., which ranked 91st for median income ($22,861) came in 99th overall. Providence, R.I., finished just one spot higher, ranking 31st for unemployment rate (7.1 percent), and much lower than that for its paltry population of young residents.

If you’re thinking about New York City, which finished 20th overall, it had the highest median rent of any metro in the study. But it also had the largest population of residents between the ages of 18 and 34 (more than 2 million), and scored well for median income.

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