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These Are the Best Cities for College Grads Right Now

Wrapping up your college years is a lot to process. You've got to figure out how you're going to break into your career, and where you're going to live, and, oh god, how the heck you're going to pay off your student loans...

Nashville | Shutterstock
Nashville | Shutterstock

Wrapping up your college years is a lot to process. You've got to figure out how you're going to break into your career and where you're going to live, and, oh god, how the heck you're going to pay off your student loans. Fortunately, it might be a bit easier to deal with at least one of those decisions now, thanks to this new list that reveals which cities are best for college grads right now.

Courtesy of the financial advice site SmartAsset, this new list ranks 108 of the largest cities in the United States by how hospitable they are for recent college grads in 2019. More specifically, it's the result of some number crunching of a variety of factors across 10 metrics, ranging from job availability to fun to affordability. To get a sense, the team at SA looked at everything from the number of job listings on Indeed in a particular place to the cost of living and median rent costs there, to the concentration of entertainment and dining options available for folks between the ages of 20-29. Then, they ranked the cities with the highest marks into a list of the top 25. 

Earning the title of best city for college grads in 2019 is Cincinnati, followed by Nashville, with Columbus rounding out the top three. Here's the full list of 25 cities that made the cut.

25. Kansas City, MO
24. Reno, NV
23. Tucson, AZ
22. Boston, MA
21. San Francisco, CA
20. Cleveland, OH
19. Madison, WI
18. Des Moines, IA
17. Omaha, NE
16. Austin, TX
15. Arlington, VA
14. Dallas, TX
13. Lincoln, NE
12. Birmingham, AL
11. Louisville, KY
10. St. Louis, MO
9. New Orleans, LA
8. Indianapolis, IN
7. Lexington, KY
6. Pittsburgh, PA
5. San Antonio, TX
4. Milwaukee, WI
3. Columbus, OH
2. Nashville, TN
1. Cincinnati, OH

SmartAsset

Based on this survey, it's pretty clear that the Midwest and the South are the places to be if you're trying kick-start your post-grad life. What's more, if you were hoping to make a go of it in the Golden State, it may be worth reconsidering, because 11 of the cities in the SmartAsset's bottom 25 spots for recent college grads are located in California.

Still, life is long and you never know where you may end up. Though it's still probably worth figuring out how much you'll need to be earning if you ever actually want to buy a home where you are. 

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.