Top Cities and Towns for Job-Seeking College Grads

Here’s what motivates Millennials to pick one city over another

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the American Institute for Economic Research ranked
American cities
by the attributes that are most attractive to young
college graduates.

Among the 260 metro areas that made up this ranking, those that ranked
highest in each size category were Washington D.C.; San José,
California; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Iowa City, Iowa.

second annual Employment Destinations Index
an interactive tool that allows users to create their own ranking based
on what matters most to them.

The report is based on AIER research exploring the factors that
influenced migration patterns of college grads ages 22-35. The top
factor was having a young, well-educated population. “The young and
well-educated are moving to places where they’ll find a big contingent
of the population that share these characteristics,” according to the
co-author, Amanda Knarr, program coordinator at AIER.

The other important factors were a strong economic climate, including a
low unemployment rate and a high labor force participation rate, as well
as racial and ethnic diversity.

The top-ranked major metropolitan area was Washington, D.C., which
enjoys higher wages, lower unemployment, and higher labor force
participation for young college grads.

The highest-ranked midsize metropolitan area was San José, which earns
its high ranking due to economic strength supported by the tech
industry. The top-ranked small metro area was Ann Arbor, home to
highly-educated young people, and research activities that support
private industry.

And among the smallest metros, Iowa City, home of the University of
Iowa, won with a growing technology corridor, an abundance of bike paths
and city accessibility due to transit.

The top areas in each size category are, in descending order:

Major metros (More than 2.5 million residents):

1. Washington

2. San Francisco

3. Boston

Midsize metros (1 million-2.5 million):

1. San Jose, California

2. Austin, Texas

3. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Small metros (250,000-1 million):

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan

2. Bridgeport, Connecticut

3. Lincoln, Nebraska

Smallest metros (Below 250,000):

1. Iowa City, Iowa

2. Lawrence, Kansas

3. Bloomington, Illinois

To view the detailed list of the 75 best metro areas for job seekers,
and how they performed in each of the nine factors, visit


American Institute for Economic Research
Aaron Nathans,
413-528-1216 x3135