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Atlanta Is the Best Large City for College Grads to Start a Career

Embarking on a career after college is both thrilling and overwhelming: as graduates seek the best location to start their professional journey, countless considerations can come into play. And, because these can vary on a wide scale from one profession to the other (and even among individuals), there’s no cookie-cutter answer to the “where” question. However, breaking down some of the most important and universally justifiable factors into measurable data can help make an educated decision.

In this article, we explore the top cities for recent college graduates, highlighting their strengths and attractions for young professionals. The underlying analysis scored U.S. cities based on factors such as the share of the local population that holds a bachelor’s degree — which, while in case of a higher percentage can mean more competition for jobs, it’s also indicative of more job opportunities as companies gravitate towards locations with a qualified talent pool. Accordingly, further metrics included job opportunities that are suitable for recent grads, income levels, costs of living, lifestyle amenities, etc.

The results were weighted to obtain comparable total scores. For an easier overview, these scores were combined into three main categories by area of interest — employment, financial and lifestyle. Furthermore, for a fair comparison, we segmented the cities into three population brackets: small cities having up to 150,000 residents; large cities with 400,000 or more; and medium cities between these values.

Here are our main findings on Atlanta:

  • Atlanta takes the first spot as the best large city for recent grads to put down roots.
  • Atlanta ranks first by financial score with a median income of over $67K for people aged 25+ with a bachelor’s degree – the 9th highest among large cities. It is also second only to San Francisco & Seattle for its share of young population who have an employer-based health insurance.
  • With a whopping 715 leisure amenities and 16.9 coworking spaces per 100,000 residents, the Big Peach is a clear leader of the field in the lifestyle category too, second only to Miami, FL.
  • By the employment subscore, Atlanta ranks 7th, with an unemployment rate of 5.8%.
  • In the other population brackets, Arlington, VA took the 1st spot among mid-sized cities, while Santa Clara, CA ranked as the best small city for recent grads to start their career.

You can read the full report here:

Article courtesy of Metro Atlanta CEO, published May 11, 2023.