Consumer data firm GoodCall has compiled a list of the top cities for recent graduates, based on a varied array of data metrics. Roanoke, Virginia took first place on the list as the top city for recent graduates entering the workforce. From GoodCall:
“New grads might find it harder to land that first job if they aren’t willing to consider moving to a new place. But moving blindly, without considering how well the new city will fit with one’s lifestyle and preferences, could lead to months or years of unhappiness.
GoodCall analysts crunched data from 589 cities and towns across the country to determine the best places for new graduates. Most of the cities at the top – more than half of the top 30 – were mid-sized, with less than 100,000 people. While the best places were generally scattered across the country, there were few Northeastern cities at the top.
Factors considered include affordability, relative salary, entry-level jobs available, and local amenities.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines housing costs as affordable when they account for less than 30% of family income, and all but one of the cities in the top 10 are better than that.
New grads likely will fare better in locations where their new degree is valued, so analysts considered each city’s overall median salary and compared that with the median salary for those with a bachelor’s degree. And, of course, going where companies are hiring is a smart move.
But a lot of new grads make the mistake of taking a well-paying job in a place that turns out to be a tiny town with no nightlife, arts scene, or dining options. So the GoodCall list also takes into account the number of amenities per capita.
At the top of the GoodCall list was Roanoke, Va. The town of nearly 100,000 people in the beautiful Roanoke Valley ranked fairly highly for its amenities and the number of available entry-level jobs. There were 16.6 jobs posted on Indeed.com per 1,000 people in the area. People with bachelor’s degrees tend to fare well in Roanoke, making about $42,900, or 48% more than the area’s median salary. And the area’s arts and culture scene is strong, with more than 350 amenities. Roanoke has several performing arts and events centers, which draw an array of local, regional and national performers, as well as breweries and wineries, shopping, and dining.”