Best Cities For New Grads 2020

With the impact of COVID-19 this year, it is more important than ever for the promotion of 2020 to find the good cities to live in that offer employment opportunities, a manageable cost of living, with wages that have meaning with the rents of the respective cities, and the potential for a good social life once the orders for refuge on the spot or stay at home lifted. Zumper’s ranking takes all this into account with an index of 7 categories to cover in-depth the 100 best cities in the country.


Best Cities For New Grads 2020

Best Cities For New Grads 2020
Best Cities For New Grads 2020


Top 10 of the best cities

1. Salt Lake City, UT

With a high concentration of young people (which we define as 20-34 year olds) and the 5th largest population, Salt Lake City was catapulted to the top of this list for new graduates. This city also ranked in the top third for the median income of people aged 25 and under and had high potential for job opportunities, especially with its growing technology scene, as its unemployment rate in March 2020 was 3.8%. All of this combined with great outdoor activities makes Salt Lake City Zumper 2020 the best city for new graduates.

2. Raleigh, NC

Raleigh did well in all areas in terms of categories, ranking in the top half for all. This city has performed particularly well with its large population of people with a bachelor’s degree, which means there are many people with similar educational backgrounds to new graduates this year, and ranked in the top 20 for median income .

3. San Francisco, California

San Francisco, the first and only west coast city in the top 10, had the highest median income in the country for people aged 25 and under and the 8th lowest unemployment rate in March, so new graduates have ample opportunity to find gainful employment. highly in this city.

4. Columbus, OH

Columbus was our 4th best city for new graduates due to its affordable rent, high concentration of young people and generous amount of restaurants per capita, when orders for Shelter-in-Place and Stay-at-Home increased .

5. Nashville, TN

Particularly high ranking in the number of restaurants per inhabitant (hello hot chicken from Nashville) and with the 7th highest income for recent graduates, Nashville was our 5th best city for graduates. Nashville also had the 6th lowest unemployment rate, which also shows great job opportunities here.

6. Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis ranked in the top 10 for potential job opportunities, concentration of young people and educated graduates, making it the 6th best city for new graduates.

7. Boston, MA

As the first city on the East Coast to enter the top cities, Boston was placed at the top of the ranking by its high density of young people, singles and excellent job opportunities, with the 6th highest unemployment rate low overall.

8. Lincoln, NE

Lincoln was the 8th best city for new graduates because of its very affordable rent, as the one-bedroom rooms in this city cost less than $ 800 and its large number of graduates.

9. Norfolk, VA

Ranked 9th among the best cities in the world, Norfolk entered our top 10 because of its 6th highest youth population and ranking in the top quarter for the singles and median income categories.

10. Madison, WI

To complete our top 10 cities, Madison was the 10th best city for new graduates. It had the highest concentration of young people in the country as well as the greatest potential for employment opportunities with the lowest unemployment rate at 2%.

Cities broken down by main categories

4 Californian cities have risen among the top 5 markets for the highest incomes for people 25 and under. A Washington City, Seattle, was also added to the list. The west coast seems to be paying its young workers the best.

All the 5 cities with the highest employment opportunities had an unemployment rate of less than 3%. The majority of these top 5 cities were located in the central or southwestern region of the country, with the exception of Honolulu.

Providence had the highest percentage of singles in the country, with 2 of the 3 people living in this city being single. 2 cities in Louisiana were the next best places to find singles, followed closely by Rochester and Salt Lake City.

In terms of concentration of young people, we have considered the population of 20-34 year olds in each city. Madison, Boston, Seattle and Salt Lake City all had more than a third of their population aged 20 to 34. Minneapolis was right with 33%.


To determine the best cities for new graduates, we analyzed data from the top 100 American cities on seven key metrics. These measures included:

  • Median room rent on Zumper.com
  • Population of 20-34 year olds (for the highest concentration of “young people”) according to the 2018 American Community Survey
  • 25-year-old population with a bachelor’s degree from the American Community Survey 2018
  • Median income of people 25 and under according to the 2017 American Community Survey
  • Unmarried population according to American Community Survey 2018
  • Restaurants for 100,000 people from the Yelp API
  • March 2020 Unemployment rate from (https://www.bls.gov/home.htm)

Each city received a ranking and a weighted score for each metric. In terms of weights, the median rental price, median income and unemployment rate of March 2020 each represented 20% of the final score. The single population represented 15%, the population of young people and the population of 25 years and over holding a baccalaureate each 10% and restaurants per capita the last 5%. The final ranking was determined by adding the weighted scores from each city to see who got the highest score.

This product uses the Census Bureau data API, but is not endorsed or certified by the Census Bureau.

Complete data

(How each city ranked in the individual categories)

General classificationCityMedian rentYoung peoplePopulation of people with baccalaureateMedian incomeRestaurants per capitaPopulation aloneUnemployment rate
1Salt Lake City, UT514173194521
2Raleigh, NC4526519394421
3San Francisco, California100162126318
4Columbus, OH19173241163641
5Nashville, TN77222472596
6Minneapolis, MN77583293189
7Boston, MA98216219596
8Lincoln, NE1429215956121
9Norfolk, VA3767223972531
tenMadison, WI6618806281
11Durham, NC43272261ten4617
12Tallahassee, FL1920288153844
13Orlando, FL6982538114329
14Richmond, VA54ten297474721
15Atlanta, GA81111224621252
16Austin, TX7312655563814
17Lubbock, TX3186189594117
18Boise, ID5168157149223
19Indianapolis, IN29605163354111
20Denver, CO8214711464452
21Knoxville, TN19137582703512
22Greensboro, North Carolinaten742633257248
23Seattle, WA93314583268
24Oakland, California9641183193448
25Virginia Beach, Virginia4962341372989
26Santa Ana, California9032975223917
27Oklahoma City, OK1275614464914
28Chattanooga, TN3347676215621
29Plano, TX659349526831
30San Diego, California922919ten765234
31Cincinnati, OH33184079211962
32Dallas, TX7137512844744
32Honolulu, HI868134269702
34Gilbert, AZ72100ten16157921
35Portland, OR77451160514914
36Kansas City, MO39504240475652
37Washington DC958221480683
38Tampa, FL5949333986641
39Tulsa, OK280557287885
40San Jose, California9781202289016
41Charlotte, North Carolina67461457546231
41Arlington, TX26485065437538
43Scottsdale, AZ8398312179229
44Memphis, TN15728166482659
45Omaha, NE26773036448062
46Phoenix, AZ47656829306452
47Lexington, KY11332792658144
48El Paso, TX5708046188859
49Baton Rouge, LA16215110082285
50Des Moines, IA36676553335952
50St Louis, MO33255185632371
52Colorado Springs, CO4656361739679
53Anchorage, AK41643815509471
54San antonio, tx30558378395534
55Anaheim, California86707025147721
56Wichita, KS6846675609521
57Jacksonville, FL32687147297651
58Laredo, TX16888920856471
59Pittsburgh, PA5674487121782
60New York, NY99563922684944
61Rochester, NY4115887627489
62St. Petersburg, FL63843142816834
63Houston, TX59385948384966
64Chandler, AZ7094138999938
65Irving, TX62344168617034
66Chesapeake, VA519548543210012
67Reno, NV48515527697868
68Tucson, AZ7297890554079
69Milwaukee, WI54418786911438
70Akron, OH1628670663389
71Chicago, IL85233743882676
72Bakersfield, California23739418316396
73Winston Salem, NC19865788426641
74Aurora, CO5766646798768
75Baltimore, MD67387883131662
76Providence, RI7523844992185
77Miami, FL91817335835820
78Albuquerque, NM7786177347471
79Sacramento, California74434469245259
80Fort Lauderdale, FL89974637235448
81Augusta, GA12519391782976
82Mesa, AZ37877345399252
83Spokane, WA18584864968471
84Syracuse, NY2328959698ten81
85Fort Worth, TX49786050578352
86Los Angeles, CA94404234892989
87Louisville, KY26927551907366
88Shreveport, LA489929973394
89Detroit, MI776100944511100
90Buffalo, NY63348173672183
91Glendale, AZ30909656368662
92Cleveland, OH39549898711299
93Fresno, California57619058754898
94Corpus Christi, TX25909167778578
95Las Vegas, NV43968552208295
96Philadelphia, PA8434779771997
97Long Beach, California86445884373792
98New Orleans, LA80584795862385
99Henderson, NV599968301009788
100Newark, NJ75539993841492

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