Mid-sized Places Dominate List of Best Cities for New Grads

Posted By Courtney Price Davis on January 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm
Mid-sized Places Dominate List of Best Cities for New Grads

While most college grads tend to move to a bigger city, a new GoodCall® report suggests mid-sized cities might be a better choice for those recently out of college. Seven of the top 10 on the list of Best Cities For New Grads were places with fewer than 115,000 residents.

GoodCall analysts looked at factors including affordability, salaries for college graduates, amenities, and job availability to determine which cities offer the best location for a new grad.

Roanoke, Va., came in at No. 1 on the list, followed by Canton, Ohio; Fort Myers, Fla.; Irving, Texas; and Gastonia, N.C., rounding out the top five.

The top cities were spread fairly evenly across the South, Midwest, Southwest, and West, but there were few high-ranking cities in the Northeast.

GoodCall®’s analysts reviewed data from 589 cities and towns to determine the list. Roanoke stood out most notably for its amenities and available jobs per capita. Fort Myers was No. 1 in the country for available jobs. Irving was remarkably affordable. Dallas made the top 10 with a boost from its high salaries for college-educated workers.

The top 10 best cities for new grads were:

  1. Roanoke, Va.
  2. Canton, Ohio
  3. Fort Myers, Fla.
  4. Irving, Texas
  5. Gastonia, N.C.
  6. Mountain View, Calif.
  7. Lansing, Mich.
  8. Beaverton, Ore.
  9. Dallas, Texas
  10. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

View the full list of the 2017 Best Cities for New Grads.

According to Ladan Nikravan, corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder, out West is the place to be if you’re job hunting. A recent CareerBuilder report determined 74% of employers in that region said they were hiring recent college grads.

Region % of employers hiring new grads
Northeast 67
Midwest 63
South 65
West 74


Nikravan says it’s not surprising to see that mid-sized cities topped the GoodCall® list.

“For anyone looking to start their careers and settle down after college, city life has a lot of appeal — and usually, the majority of job opportunities — but you don’t have to live the big city lifestyle to find success and prosperity. Midsize cities often have low median rent, good job prospects and plenty of arts and entertainment,” she says.

It’s also important to consider more than just the job and salary once you’re landed a job – don’t necessarily jump on the first offer you get. Do your research, Nikravan says.

“I’d recommend researching prices on everything from rent and utilities to groceries in the area,” she says. But, “the financial aspect of moving for a job is only the tip of the iceberg. Other things to consider are changes in your lifestyle, opportunities for upward mobility, reputation of the company.”

Courtney Price Davis
Courtney has a journalism degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked at newspapers and magazines as a reporter, designer, copy editor and managing editor. She started a weekly newspaper at age 23 and was executive editor of Lake Norman Publications outside of Charlotte, N.C.

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