Here are some cool cities that offer both employment and a relatively low cost of living (and that includes housing)
An FKD Feature exclusive

It’s hard enough when you move out of the college dorms and realize that you will no longer have access to the precious dining hall with its free unlimited food trough. (It sort of feels like a trough. Be honest.) But then you have to tangle with few (good) job opportunities and high-apartment pricing, too? Well, it turns out that you don’t. Not everywhere and not in every city. There are a few great cities in which you can not only find relatively easy employment, but also find relatively affordable housing while you’re at it.

Trulia & Indeed

The former is a real-estate website and the latter is a job-searching website. Together, they released a report conducted by some researchers that discovered (a fairly obvious discovery) that the cities with job markets most appealing and applicable to recent graduates were, unfortunately, not the ones that had the lowest cost of living.

“It turns out that new grads are going to have a very difficult decision to make,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. “It’s very difficult to have both jobs and a low cost of living.”

The report

The rule of thumb for an apartment with a relatively affordable monthly cost is one that only asks of its lessee up to 30 percent of their paycheck. In accordance to this rule of thumb, the report estimated which cities were affordable based on a millennial’s median monthly paycheck earned in each city. The study also considered job-openings that were well-suited to recent college-grads, and their plentitude, in each city — in other words, jobs for those with degrees but lacking in the job experience department.

The cities

San Jose is one such city with a job market made for millennials. That is, roughly 32 percent of its jobs are well-suited for millennials. They ranked highest out of the 104 cities studied. But only 2.5 percent of apartments were affordable to workers “earning the median monthly paycheck of $3,333 collected by 22- to 30-year-olds in that city.”

Dayton, Ohio, on the other hand, is a hard squeeze when looking for a job but affordability is far more attractive than in San Jose. In Dayton, Ohio, 16 percent of jobs are well-suited for millennials with little job experience while about 43 percent of housing opportunities would be affordable with a millennial paycheck (more than any other city on the list). Millennial Daytonians earn a median income of $2,503 a month.  

Balanced cities

To find a balance between a good, well-suited job and an affordable, realistic housing situation, there are cities that the millennial or young college grad may turn to. One such city is Seattle; Seattle logs just less than a quarter of jobs listed on the market as suitable for millennials or fresh college grads while 8 percent of apartments are affordable for them (which may not sound spectacular, but 8 percent is three times higher than the San Francisco housing market).

San Antonio, Austin, and Salt Lake City are also good bets, especially if you are a recent college grad. And especially especially if you are looking to get into the tech industry. Despite the fancy growing tech industries in this triad, the cost of living is comparatively low (compared to, say, the Bay Area of San Francisco).

According to The Washington Post, “the cost of living in San Antonio is 14 percent below the national average, according to an analysis by PayScale. In Salt Lake City, the cost of living is 6 percent below the national average.” Although it still remains to be true that young people will have an easier time finding jobs in cities such as San Francisco and New York with their horrendously high costs of living.


Although you don’t have to give up on your favorite metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco to live your dreams, the fact does remain that there are more doable options for millennials and those fresh out of college. Cities like Austin, Salt Lake City and San Antonio (and others not listed!), might be more helpful toward sniffing out and fashioning a career and life for yourself than many other supposedly“more desirable” cities.


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Posted 08.10.2018 - 09:00 am EDT